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'American Ride' is a natural habitat for Wadena businessman

Photo by Dain Sullivan Kirk Wallace, owner of American Ride, stands next to his limo July 13 in Sunnybrook Park.1 / 2
Photo by Dain Sullivan Neon lighting and American-themed glassware are a couple features that can be found in Kirk Wallace's American Ride limo.2 / 2

Kirk Wallace used one word to describe the experience of starting his own limousine business in Wadena: "fun."

As he drove his limo around town July 13, a number of pedestrians waved to him, and he couldn't help but crack a smile.

It probably won't surprise many that Wallace loves what he does. The driver said for much of his life, he has been the guy behind the wheel.

"If it's a 1,200-mile road trip, I'd just as soon do about 900 of them if I can," he said.

Wallace truly is in his natural habitat when he's behind the wheel of his American Ride, a name he chose for a number of reasons.

"I guess I'm proud to be American. I appreciate the troops," he said. Also, "it's a Toby Keith song."

But ultimately, Wallace said he wanted to choose a business name that was different than the rest. "Touch of Class" and "Top Notch" are a couple names that he said are overplayed. His limo is anything but a re-run.

The Lincoln Navigator, which can hold a maximum of 14 people, is meant to serve a number of different clients.

In addition to weddings, proms and bachelorette parties, Wallace said he also hopes his limo will spark interest with people of all ages and backgrounds.

"Kids think it's as cool, if not cooler, than the adults," he said. "I hope to do a lot of good causes with it too."

The limo's interior is decked with strings of neon lights and fancy glassware. And, of course, everything has a red, white and blue theme.

American Ride first rolled into town in late May. Since then, Wallace has scored almost 10 gigs.

"I missed the boat somewhat this year," he said, explaining that prom was over in Wadena, and weddings are typically planned far in advance. But the driver added that people have been calling him to reserve rides as far in advance as next summer.

Next month, he will be driving the limo for his daughter's 16th birthday. Their destination: Zorbaz.

Business is starting to pick up for Wallace, who wears a number of other hats. He also works as a real estate agent for Hinkle Realty, manages rental properties and is an independently contracted driver for the Star Tribune newspaper.

Wallace said he is always looking for an adventure, and American Ride marks the next chapter in his life story. But while he was completely game to bring his new business into town, he said it might be a while before a fleet fills up his garage.

"You're better to be too busy than have a garage full," he said, adding that some people have expressed an interest in becoming backup drivers for American Ride.

Wallace said it's been about five years since Wadena had a limo service, and he is excited to continue driving for American Ride because it's the break many area people have been waiting for.

"It's fun to see people just cut loose a little bit, get a smile on their face, not worry about their problems, get out and have a good time," he said. "It's fun to know that people are getting from place to place safe and sound."

For more information regarding American Ride, call 218-640-6523.