The Grammy Trophies are Made in a Small Colorado Town
When I think of the Grammys which was just this past Sunday, February 5th, I never imagined they were made in our close-by mountain town of Ridgway Colorado.
Ridgway sits in the San Juan mountains, just 25 miles south of Montrose. John Billings and his team of three craftsmen, hammer, polish, and of course assemble each of the gold gramophones. A grammy award is made of a base, a cabinet, and a tone arm that holds the bell. Then molded and polished and plated with 24-karat gold. It takes quite a bit of patience.
Billings has been making the Grammys for over 40 years. Each one takes 15 hours to make. John Billings was born in Santa Monica. His family later moved to Van Nuys, next door to Bob Graves who cast the original Grammy mold in his garage in 1958. Graves offered John an apprenticeship in 1976 to help make Grammys. When graves passed away in 1984, Billings bought the business from his widow.
Billings was tired of the fast pace of Los Angeles and escaped in 1993. The late actor Dennis Weaver, from the t.v. show Mccloud hired Billings to make a light fixture for his home in Ridgway, and you can say the rest is history.
Billings and his wife have a house beside the river, and he works 7 days a week making those beautiful Grammys. The Grammy's aren't his only money maker, he made a nickel-plated cigar smoking duck for the 1978 movie 'Convoy'.
John Billings made a promise to Bob Graves to not let anyone else make the grammy, he's hanging on to that promise.