Yesterday, we had the Grammies. My fiance and I plopped down in front of the TV and watched a bunch of people Adele win cool golden record player awards. We couldn’t help but reminisce back to the time when we accidentally stumbled upon the grammy maker’s shop almost exactly a year ago and got a private tour!
We were on a skip trip to Aspen and Telluride, and we had a day dedicated to driving from Aspen to Telluride. Even though it would only be about a 30 minute helicopter ride from resort to resort, it actually takes the better part of a day to drive from one to another, as the recommended road leaves the Rockies and then re-enters them at another point. We took our time, though. We stopped in Grand Junction to look around and eat Taco Bell. We stopped in mountain towns to take pictures, and our last stop before Telluride was the little town of Ridgway, Colorado.
There isn’t much to Ridgway, but it seemed like a great place for us to stop, grab a beer at the local brewery, and wander around for a bit. We found a bunch of random boutiques, places for buying antiques, etc, and we randomly saw a sign that said, “Billings Artworks: Home of the Grammy.”
Home of the Grammy? Like… the musical Grammy? Surely, this sign must mean something else.
The door didn’t exactly look like a storefront, but we decided to walk on in to see what we might find. As soon as we walked in, a friendly bearded man welcomed us in. While he was very welcoming, he seemed a bit confused as to why we were there. We were also a bit confused. Instead of stumbling into a store, we stumbled into a workshop. We explained that we were just exploring, passing through town, and were curious about the sign. He laughed and told us he was working on making Grammys. His name was John Billings, and he has been making the Grammy award for over 30 years now.
He was extremely welcoming and friendly and gave us a tour of his workshop. Apparently that year’s Grammy awards had already been shipped off to Los Angeles, but he was already starting to make the awards for the following year. Here’s what the pieces we saw looked like.
Reflecting on it more, one of those half-designed awards in the picture above could very well be in Adele’s hands today. Very cool! John showed us some of the other neat things in the store. For example, a few years back, Taylor Swift dropped one of her Grammy awards. John made her a new one and kept the old one as a souvenir, as seen below.
John Billings also makes a variety of other things like the John Wooden Award and the Quentin Tarantino Death Proof Duck. Speaking of broken awards, he actually had Michael Jordon’s original John Wooden award!!!
In any case, this post doesn’t fit the typical mold of frequent-flier-mileage-running-hotel-hopping normalcy, but it’s a great little anecdote about how curiosity and some exploration can lead you to stumble in funny places.
Thanks for the tour, John! Keep making those Grammy awards!
We ended up having a great trip to Telluride. You can read the report here.