Over the past 30 years, Wayne Kirk has been operating horse ranches and related charities including Majestic Ranch that was located at Frankford and Marsh in the City of Dallas, the 22,000 acre QB Ranch in King County, the 700 acre ranch known as Frisco Horse Park, he is now operating Storybook Ranch and was most recently chosen to run the Texas Horse Park, a 300+ acre facility located off of Loop 12 in the Trinity Forest.
Ranching and raising horses has been in Mr. Kirk’s blood since he was a child. Wayne’s humble beginnings in Oak Cliff included the dream of horses early on. His mom, Mary Kirk, operated the only riding stables in the City of Dallas, Halbert Stables, located at Kiest Park (later relocated to Mountain Creek Lake) over 50 years ago. He owned his first horse at age 5 and by the time he was 18 years old owned 14 horses that he paid for by bailing and selling hay.
In 1992, at the request of Catholic Charities and in concert with the YMCA, Kirk developed a riding program that was conducted at the Pines Youth Camp in Gladewater, Texas. He went on to establish and develop River Ranch Educational Charities and has been the driving force behind it with his dream to maintain a horse park that conserves a piece of nature in an urban environment in order to provide a unique facility for the community and for use by underprivileged children and those with special needs.
In order to support his efforts, Kirk started and ran a commercial construction company for over 20 years in the city of Dallas and then went on to become a top-selling broker, a passionate and motivational speaker and savvy business man. He currently oversees operations at the historic QB Ranch in Guthrie Texas along with his position at the charity providing the community and youth with a place and the chance to learn about horses and nature.
Vanessa Merlos Fry Vice President of Operations Board Member at Hope Rising
Vanessa Fry is Vice President of Operations. Vanessa has dedicated her time to the charity since March 2007 helping oversee the scheduling, daily duties, organizing and structuring of events, and making sure the welfare of the animals is intact.
Vanessa also oversees the marketing and assists with special events and spreading the word about the gifts the charity has to offer. In her spare time, she sits on the board for Hope Rising, another non-profit organization working to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence.
With her strong belief and background in holistic healing and spiritual pursuits, she does her best to help guide the charity in it's mission and compassionate endeavors. She speaks Spanish and English and honors her Spanish-Indian heritage.
Her dedication to the cause continues to motivate and help team members, children and guests alike.
Ann Stacy Equestrian Programs Director
Ann is a blessing for River Ranch! With her dynamic background as a school superintendent, a sports and motivational coach, history teacher, and equestrian guide on trail riding courses, she brings more than we could ask for to our charity! Her gifts bless both staff and charity clients alike.
We give thanks for Ann!
Amber Bagwell Marketing Director
Amber comes to River Ranch from the American Heart Association where she served as the Media Relations Director for North Texas. Her past experience include stints as Public Relations Manager for CP Homes, Senior Media Relations Supervisor at the Loomis Group, Senior Public Relations Manager at NewTek, Media Director of the California State Fair and Director of Public Relations and Marketing at Messina Hof Winery and Resort.
She has worked with national media, including TIME Magazine, The Today Show, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, The Austin Chronicle as well as local print, television and radio stations.
In addition to her extensive work background, she also serves as a Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), speaking up for the best interests of America’s most vulnerable children, so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive.
With her experience, knowledge of horses and riding and altruistic spirit, she is great addition to the team!
Beth Coombs Front Office Manager
Beth is a pivotal part of the River Ranch team! She was a phenomenal teacher for 27 years as a Dyslexia/Reading Specialist, First Grade/Lead Teacher and Third Grade Teacher. Her passion and compassion are two of the many gifts that you notice and feel as soon as you meet her!
Beth makes everyone feel special and welcome as she helps create an atmosphere of love and learning.
Beth also dedicates her time to pursuing her personal growth and spiritual goals. Having her on the River Ranch team is truly a blessing!
Philomena Jones Educational Programs Director
Philomena is a great addition to the team! With her great love for kids, education, horses, what the charity can offer and how she can help, we're in good hands.
We will have more information on Philomena's extensive background in education soon...!