Steve with his shingle at The Outlaw presented by the Ouray Chamber of Commerce.

It is sort of strange to think that I could have something in common with John Wayne.  Let me explain.

No trip to Ouray, Colorado would be complete without a meal at The Outlaw.  The Outlaw is a one of my favorite steak houses.  It sits right on Main Street right in the middle of town.  Folks are lured into The Outlaw by the familiar music of the old time piano  pouring out the screen door and the smell of those thick, juicy steaks being grilled to perfection.

The Outlaw is only open for dinner…and you better have reservations.  The place is not know for being spacious…it is know for being delicious.  I suppose the bar must be a hundred years old and there is rarely an empty seat.  Amid the wall of spirits is the centerpiece and cultural icon that deserves a moment of your attention and a moment of reverence…John Wayne’s hat.

As it happens, the original True Grit was filmed in a wilderness area just outside of Ouray.  It seems that The Duke and others who worked on the movie liked to spend their evenings dining and enjoying the libations of The Outlaw.  I often wonder what it would have been like to be there when he walked in and took his seat at the bar.  I would have loved to hear the stories and seen the faces of those that got to meet him.

I guess John Wayne decided to leave a part of his legacy and film history behind as he gave The Outlaw the hat he wore in True Grit.  It hangs proudly on the wall for all to see.

The Outlaw is also famous for the wooden shingles that line the walls with the drawings, messages and names of countless patrons.  Hundreds of these shingles hang throughout the restaurant for all to see.  They are something of a history of people’s adventures and love of Ouray.  And in 2013, I got my shingle.

I can’t explain how proud I was to be presented with a shingle to decorate and adorn with my message to the patrons of The Outlaw.  It was a gift to me from the Ouray Chamber of Commerce.  I wanted the message to be an inspiration for all who see it.   I am so proud to have it hang on the wall as a tribute to my love for Ouray and my love for The Outlaw…just like John Wayne’s hat.  So in that sense, I like to think me and John Wayne share something in common.

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