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Much of Rick’s Restorations duo’s relationship has taken place on TV — VIDEO

Rick and Kelly Dale have weathered a lot of their lives on the reality show “American Restoration,” including their proposal, but their first outing had all the makings of reality TV without the cameras.

“I used to go to the gym at 3 in the morning,” Rick said. “Kelly was there a lot at that time, too, and one night she said, ‘Hey, there’s this party. Do you want to go?’, and I’m thinking it’s a date. I get there, and there’s a whole bunch of guys, and Kelly’s got a date.”

Kelly had been trying to promote a singles’ night at her friend’s restaurant, and Rick was just one of several people she had told about the event. Despite the mix-up, the pair became friends. Some time later, she had a new job and told Rick that he should come down to see her at another bar.

“I’m thinking, ‘Am I going down to promote another bar, or is it a date, or what?’ ” Rick said. “So, this time, I got got all dressed up, and when I got there, she was there all by herself.”

For Kelly, it was a new look at a man she had primarily seen in workout clothes.

“I wasn’t interested in his long hair, and I didn’t like the way he dressed,” she said. “When he came in there that night, he looked so good, and he smelled so good that I walked up to him and gave him a big hug and got him drunk.”

She made it pretty clear that she was interested in dating him.

The pair are now married and are trying to put together a new reality show. They are partners on and off camera, at work and at home.

“Through the trials and tribulations, the business and the kids and life, we work really well together,” Rick said. “We’re pretty yin and yang. She’s East Coast; I’m West Coast. We’ve got a good balance of skills. We’re an incredible team together. It’s an awesome relationship.”

He was attracted to her smile and personality. She was attracted to his toolbelt.

“I love a man with tools,” Kelly said. “It’s such a turn-on to me when there are tools in his hand, and he’s operating a power tool. A man who can build things? That’s a turn-on.”

Rick added that what he loves about Kelly is her heart.

“She’s a good person,” he said, adding with a laugh, “I’m not.”

Kelly disagreed.

“That’s not true,” she said. “We have such a mutual respect for each other. We never get lazy with our relationship. I think that’s really important. People get married, and they think this is going to be forever, and they stop working on the relationship. I always tell Rick to treat me like his girlfriend, not his wife, because when you’re dating someone, you always treat them better.”

For Rick’s part, he’s a proponent of picking your battles and letting some things go. He feels that this and their mutual respect has gone a long way toward helping to build their happy marriage.

“If she makes a bad decision, I still respect her,” Rick said. “If she gets mad at me, I still respect her. If I do something wrong, then I’m in the doghouse, and that’s OK.”

Kelly said he never stays in the doghouse long.

“We go our separate ways for a little while, and then we come back and say we’re sorry.”

Late last year, when their lease was up, the couple moved Rick’s Restorations from its location on Commerce Street to 800 W. Mesquite Ave. “Right under the Spaghetti Bowl,” Kelly said.

Their children from previous marriages are helping to operate the business. They work together most of the day and then head home to the northwest, where they often work a few more hours on projects at Rick’s original shop. It’s a setup and a partnership that exceeds their expectations.

“My heart is always full,” Rick said. ” I don’t worry about anything. She’s got my back in both work and love. I think love is earned. I think that once you’ve earned it, once you respect it and understand it, then it’s magical.”

— To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor, email ataylor@viewnews.com or call 702-380-4532.

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