Ashley is a long-time Telluride local, who you have most likely seen on stage with Telluride Theater, listened to on KOTO, or bumped into on the streets talking history with large groups of people rocking a sweet cowboy hat. There are many reasons to love Ashley, and if you don’t know time, well, it’s him you do.
Here is WHY ME?! With Ashley Boling.
Why move to Telluride?
I drove to Telluride, sight unseen, in July of 1990, at the invitation of two friends from college (Rik and Janie). I grew up in Alexandria, VA, and had worked after college, at the University of Virginia, in Charlotte, NC and Ithaca, NY. I spent three days sleeping in the back of my 1975 Volvo sedan on my drive from VA to Telluride. I was a bit crispy when I drove into town on July 26th, 1990. 45 minutes later, I hiked the Wasatch trail with my friends. I was beat.
Why stay?
The natural beauty of this canyon and the mountains kept me here. The community of people also kept me here.
Why start acting?
I was listening to KOTO in January of 1991, and I heard that the newly formed Telluride Repertory Theatre Company was looking for people to help out with its spring play at the Sheridan Opera House. I thought that the REP might need someone to paint or help build the set. I had never been a part of a play, nor had I acted in a play on stage. I went to the elementary school music room at the posted time, and found that it was for an audition. I had no idea what this was all about, and I had not prepared anything. I almost turned right around and walked out of the room. Marilyn Stoutenberg, the music director, suggested that I sing something. I was panicked. I did manage to sing something, broke out in a sweat, and got out of there. I received a call back for the next afternoon, and got a part in the play, the musical "Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet street." I met really great people in the cast during the month long rehearsal process, and I have been acting in Telluride ever since.
Why the historical walking tours?
I majored in History in college, so I have always been fascinated with the subject. I started conducting an historical walking tour of Telluride in the summer of 1991. I have a town business license, and the company consists of me. I have met people from all over the globe and taken them on walking tours of our town.
Why risk your life to hang street banners?
The banner hanging was another accidental occupation. The REP asked me to hang its first banner in 1992. I had never put up a banner across Main street, so I had to figure out the process. I borrowed a ladder, got some rope, and put up the night. Other outfits have asked me to hang their banners since then, because people saw me putting up or taking down various banners. I guess people assumed that I knew what I was doing. I acted like I knew what I was doing, and I continue to hang banners for a variety of different organizations.
Why go to main street?
Main street is a barometer for Telluride's community. Sometimes, I go by the Freebox and do some shopping at my favorite department store. I then take a walk west to the courthouse and frequently run into people I know. It is good to catch up with friends that I do not see on a regular basis. The public benches are nice for socializing.
Why the long hair?
My hair is still a renewable resource. It has changed color, or lost color over the past few years as I get older. I had never really had hair longer than shoulder length before I moved to Telluide, over 25 years ago. When I arrived in this valley, nobody seemed to care as much about your hair or clothing, as much as they were impressed by your ability to ski the "Alley." I let my hair grow for 8 years. It got pretty long and I guess was an experiment in how long it might get. I returned from an off season trip in the spring of 1998, looked in the mirror, and cut all of my hair off in one fell swoop. I had short hair for a few years, then it just grew back. I grew it that time and donated it to "Locks of Love" in order to help cancer patients have a wig made from my hair. I have donated my hair twice already. It is getting longer now, and I am going to donate this harvest of hair again to "Locks of Love." You might say that I am a hair farmer. You should see my back: it is out of control.