Outlaw Reflections: Looking Ahead at Telluride’s Raunchy Past

Outlaw Reflections: Looking Ahead at Telluride’s Raunchy Past

Editor’s note: I am reminded of the man every day. A talented sculptor, one of his mobiles sits on the coffee table in our living room. But I had not seen or heard from Oleh Lysiak for over 20 years. Ah, the wonders of social media. We rediscovered each other a few months ago when I also discovered the artist is also a writer – at least nowadays – though making marks on paper is only one among a very long list of talents, some slightly sketchy.

O. Z. Lysiak winking

 O.Z. Lysiak has from time to time worked as a reporter, editor, columnist, photographer, public affairs officer, restaurateur, festival booth owner-operator, ski technician, carpenter, sailor, smuggler, tree planter, fishing guide, truck driver, river guide, cook, wood-cutter, trash collector, marine gravity operator, reclaimed wood broker and sculptor. He has written for The Ukrainian Weekly, The Oregonian, and closer to home, The Aspen Daily News, The Aspen Times, The Crested Butte Pilot, The San Miguel Basin Forum – and The Telluride Daily Planet. Oleh’s poetry has been widely published and his is author of  several books, including “Neighborhood of Strangers”; “Art, Crime & Lithium”; “Scars In Progress”; “Geezer Rumba.” 

Given his street cred and the fact he wrote extensively locally in the bad old days, I asked Oleh if he would mine his files for past columns that might be of interest to our readers. I am thankful he said “yes.” This particular story refers to an incident featuring Roudy Roudebush. It’s a tirade against people who bring cell phones to Shangri-La. Or cell phones and interlopers in general.

Not you of course…

Oleh with the love of his life, wife Tina

Oleh with the love of his life, wife Tina



Could be it was action movies with gratuitous violence I’ve seen over the last couple of decades. Could be it was the training I received from Uncle Sam. Could be it was the mean streets of Philadelphia I grew up on.

Maybe it’s common sense and decency have me reaching for a wish grenade to toss at the fool standing in the river decked out in the latest fly fishing regalia, fly rod in one hand, cellular phone in the other pressed to his ear.

Last summer Roudy, a local outfitter, had a group of tourists out on an evening ride. They were looking forward to seeing elk. Silently, they ride up on a herd. One guy’s cell phone beeps. He answers and starts talking. The elk immediately split. Roudy takes the guy’s phone, smashes it on the ground. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Seems like a good idea now.

A pal of mine works for a bucks-up Texas lawyer. The lawyer calls his mega-square-foot palacial digs above Telluride from his Texas headquarters, has the boys meet his personal Citation jet at the Telluride airport. The boys drop what they’re doing, fire up one of three loaded 4X Suburbans parked at the joint (the lawyer also keeps a couple brand-new Harleys just in case somebody wants to take a ride) and drive up to the airport to pick the lawyer up. The jet lands and the red carpet rolls out. Out stroll a Harlequin Great Dane and a Labrador Retriever. No lawyer, just dogs from Texas. We’ve got plenty of dog shit already without importing more.

Makes me wonder if the money is worth the price. Are these people strung out or simply nuts? Who needs it?

What motivates people to come to our backyard and bring all their big city foolishness with them? Who needs a cell phone on the river? Who needs a phone on horseback?  What the hell is the point? If you can’t live without your phone, STAY HOME or have the courtesy to stay in your car or in your room.

The brochures tell the suckers the fishing’s great. It’s a hell of a lot less great since they started polluting our rivers. Population pollution is a bona fide category.  There are more people on the water than ever. Since this is America I guess I’ll have to let ’em but it certainly is nice to imagine vaporizing one of those suckers every once in a while.

This is another sales job on an unsuspecting public. The rubes buy it. They’re just so SPECIAL, as special as their Visa or MasterCard. Hello.

They come here to vacation, unwind, go for it or whatever they can conjure for their dollar. They could at least leave the bullshit behind instead of hauling it around for the rest of us to deal with. We can send them a bumper sticker approximating their being here. They can send us money. Do we want these fools running loose around here? Or do we want them to stay home and send us their money? I know what I want.

Perhaps we could convince the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, and whatever other environmental outfits out there to draw up a new set of politically correct rules for fools who come here to pollute our backyard.

Huggers already hustle the fools for dough so maybe we could get them to instigate a program where they can send videos of what is precariously still here for donations to keep it that way as long as those who donate don’t come as part of the deal. We’ll include a bumper sticker says these people are environmentally aware and actually did something about it by staying home and taking care of their own back yard.

They could at least draw up a new set of guidelines telling other bucks-up huggers to leave the damned phones and idiotic electronic claptrap home when they come visit the remaining vestiges of wildness. An occasional grenade might do some good.

What the hell’s the use of saving whales when you’re freaking out the elk with telephones?


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