Long before he became a trucker, Kelly Reno starred in the 1979 movie The Black Stallion. He gave up an acting career at age 18 and found a new career on the road in the mid-’90s.
Kelly Reno turned his back on movie stardom. Today, he makes his living behind the wheel – and says the life of a driver suits him just fine.
He went from costarring in The Black Stallion as a child to ranching cattle in Colorado to driving a big rig and now to driving a truck delivering construction equipment for Wagner Rent in Pueblo, Colo.
From time to time, Reno, 37, says he is still recognized from his acting days.
Starting at age 11, Reno broke into acting in a flick that got Mickey Rooney nominated for an Oscar. In The Black Stallion, Reno played Alec Ramsey, a freckled-face little boy who finds a special friendship with a horse. The two are stranded on a deserted island and later, after they are rescued, become an excellent racing team.
Reno fit the role perfectly because he had the needed horse-riding experience for the part.
“I was born and bred a cowboy,” Reno says. “I was raised up on a cow ranch.”
Reno furthered his acting career with the sequel The Black Stallion Returns, a movie centered around World War II, a role in one of Steven Spielberg’s The Amazing Series and a few other television appearances until he turned 18.
“I wouldn’t mind doing it again,” Reno says, “but not until my children are old enough to understand why Pops ain’t around so much.”
Reno reminisces about the old days, but thoroughly enjoys his days on the road.
He wasn’t faced with many options after a divorce in the mid-1990s and a cattle business that wasn’t making enough to keep him going. So Reno started driving.
“It was something I knew I had to do,” Reno says.
He started out in Colorado Springs delivering roof trusses to different job sites for TWX. He also worked part-time at Columbia House as a high-lift operator.
Three years ago, Reno started at Wagner as the primary driver. When they needed to expand, he opted to take the light delivery truck for more quality time at home.
Wagner considers him local, Reno says, but he still averages around 3,000-4,000 miles each month hauling bulldozers and other equipment for the Caterpillar rental store.
The only thing Reno says he finds local about his driving is sleeping in his own bed at night. And he still gets an occasional long haul when the primary driver can’t make it. “I still can and still do drive the semi,” Reno says.
Reno’s girlfriend Michelle even ventures on the road with him on some of his long trips.
“She likes going every now and again,” Reno says.
For now, he drives a Ford F350 but plans to move to something bigger because of the size of equipment he hauls. His CDL is up to date complete with a recent Department of Transportation physical.
Reno lives on his mother’s cattle ranch and says he enjoys the way he makes a living.
“Hauling equipment is fun,” Reno says.
The best thing about being a truck driver, he says, is getting to see all of the sights as well as time to sit and think about anything he needs to.
“You climb in the truck, say goodbye and just take off,” Reno says.