3701 S. CUSTER, MCKINNEY, TX 75070

Meet the Family

Storybook Ranch has a wonderful staff of very special peoplewho give back to the community by volunteering their time and knowledge. Overseeing the gracious and wonderful efforts of our volunteer staff, we have a full time, dedicated group of people who volunteer their time to run the ranch behind the scenes!

When you come out to visit us at Storybook Ranch, you will no doubt meet the wonderful group of people who make this place possible. Below is a short bio of the individuals who make keep the spirit of the west alive in the heart of the city!

When you come out to visit us at Storybook Ranch, you will no doubt meet the wonderful group of people who make this place possible. Below is a short bio of the individuals who make keep the spirit of the west alive in the heart of the city!

Camp Councilers


Wayne Kirk
Owner/Founder River Ranch Educational Charities
"Pictured here with his grandson, Lane, at Storybook's 2013 Pumpkin Patch"

Wayne Kirk

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 in addition, 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 and 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 Fry 

Vanessa Fry
 Vice President of Operations
 Board member at Hope Rising

Vanessa Fry is Vice President of Operations.  Vanessa has volunteered her time since March of 2007 helping oversee the ranch scheduling, daily duties, organizing and structuring of events, and making sure the welfare of the animals is intact.  She is a compassionate person and animal lover. She has a big heart for nature and all living things.

Vanessa also oversees all 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 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.


Rebecca Hackl
Lead Event Coordinator/Sales

Meet Rebecca... Entrepreneur, creative event producer and designer, Rebecca Hackl has been been envisioning and executing events for over fifteen years.  Considered an event industry leader, Ms. Hackl is the founder of Trifecta Event Management and has led her team producing events nationally as well as internationally.  She has previously instructed at The University of Texas at Arlington teaching two event certification courses.  Her passion for events and client relations is shown in each event she's produced!

Hackl takes pride in branding, creating, and producing events with a purpose and has had the pleasure of helping many great non-profits such as River Ranch Education Charities, Diamond Empowerment Fund, Edeyo Foundation, American Cancer Society, Foundation for Veterans Redeployment, Cal Farley's Boy's Ranch Alumni, and many more. Rebecca states, “To partner the corporate and non-profit industries for events is truly rewarding to everyone involved.  For our clients, we specifically tailor to your distinctive mission while acting as an extension of your team.” 

Ms. Hackl is blessed and proud to be of Spanish-Indian descent and in her spare time, she loves to travel, find unique venues to eat great food, and enjoys the perfect complimenting wine.


Rita Mary Nicolini

PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor
Whoaga & Yoga Instructor for Equestrians

Rita Mary Nicolini, RYT 200, has been practicing yoga for more than a decade.  Born and raised in Texas, she completed her Bachelor's in Spanish and Linguistics, with a Minor in Early Childhood Education and a Pre-Med focus, at the University of California-Los Angeles.

After much soul-searching and several years in the corporate world, Rita pursued certifications in yoga (under Tracy Carruth, ERYT 500 of Yoga Balance) and in horse-assisted therapy for individuals with special needs (from PATH International and SpiritHorse).  Because she strongly believes that both a horse and a yoga mat are powerful vehicles for increased self-awareness, healing, play, challenge, growth, strength, laughter, and spiritual expansion, Rita wishes to share the benefits of both practices with everyone, regardless of perceived limitations.

Rita aims to offer yoga practices which allow students the confidence and freedom to explore movement, breath, and their hearts with curiosity that cultivates self-appreciation and expanded borders. Rita has continued to study the path of yoga, having received a certification in teaching children with special needs from Every Kid's Yoga and currently in an advanced 500 Hour Program.  Rita currently teaches yoga for kids at a variety of area preschools and for adults at Yoga Balance Studio, while providing horse-assisted therapy at Storybook Ranch.  Please do not hesitate to contact her if you wish any further information:


Brittany Moody

Animal Operations Manager
and Head Counselor

I started riding horses at about age 7. My first horse, Rocky, was a sweet Percheron gelding who would lay down for you to mount and dismount. My Aunt Erin and Uncle Odie taught me everything they could about riding and caring for horses. 

Erin, who was 7th in the nation in dressage, taught me to ride English, and at one point, even had me jumping. Erin made sure that once I was on my horse, everything became second nature, so that instead of riding the horse, my horse and I were riding together.

My Uncle Odie was more on the rough side and helped to make sure I wasn’t bullied by the thousand pound animals. He rode western and my days with him were more about learning through work on the ranch than in an arena. Odie pushed me to my limits, asking me to do things I’d never believe I could, but I did, and I’m a tougher rider today because of him.

When I was 12, I moved to Texas to live with my dad, who bought me my first show
horse, Flash. He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. That year, Flash and I started
training with my horse trainer, Stacy Sample. She started working with Flash and I,
training us for a type of riding neither of us had any experience with. We learned halter,

showmanship, and western pleasure, and showed off our new skills at events like the
Houston Stock Show, Ft. Worth Stock Show and Horse-o-rama. Less than a year later,
Flash and I had qualified for the PHBA World Show.

After moving back to Oregon to be with my mom, I started doing games, like barrels and poles, with my Uncle Odie’s prized stallion, Kenodie. My Aunt Erin had previously done dressage on him so he was trained all around, English and western. Kenodie became my life and we entered in classes at the local shows every month. We did trail classes, equitation classes, reining, and even joined a drill team that performed at the rodeos.

In 2005 I moved back to Texas and took a few years off from riding. I started volunteering
and helping around Storybook Ranch in 2011 and had the chance to once again rediscover my connection to horses. I’m so thankful to them and everyone in my past that has helped me to pursue my passion and to now have the job of my dreams.


Storybook Ranch
A River Ranch Educational Charities 501(c)(3) Facility in McKinney, Texas
Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.