We are Luke & Rachel Whyte and David & Rachel Ridley – co-owners of Waco Tours.
We’ve been good friends for several years and our homes were renovated on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” TV show – based in our hometown of Waco, Texas. As Waco was growing and tourism increasing in the city, we realized there was something missing.
One day over lunch, after noticing the amount of people who were driving by our newly renovated homes, we asked the question – “Who is welcoming all of these visitors to Waco?” After doing some research, we discovered that there wasn’t an avenue for people to see all the hidden gems of Waco, so we decided to start a tour company! Over the past six years, we’ve given tours to over 90,000 of Waco’s visitors (and residents)! We love our little company and we know you will too. If you’re planning a visit to Waco, let us show you around!
From left to right: Rachel, Luke, Rachel, and David
Luke & Rachel Whyte
Luke and Rachel Whyte have been residents of Waco since 2007 when they came to attend Baylor University. They were married in 2012 and have five kiddos, Haven, James, Jacob, Hazel and Hatty.
Originally from Denver, CO, Luke worked in the corporate world in Denver after he graduated from college. But he quickly made his way back to Waco where he began to work in real estate. After working in ministry for 7 years, Luke is now a full-time entrepreneur.
Rachel was born and raised in Nacogdoches, TX. She is a stay-at-home working mom. She started her wedding photography business right out of college and photographed over 95 weddings in 5 years. She currently wears many hats, helping run their various businesses and vacation rentals, as well as raising their young kids.
The Whytes also own a wedding venue in town, Old Bethany Weddings & Events, as well as a construction business, Whyte Oak Homes. They love to host people, love to travel, and clearly they love to start businesses!
David & Rachel Ridley
David and Rachel Ridley met through a mutual friend in 2016 and married in 2017.
David was born in Plano, TX and went to high school in Paris, TX. He moved to New York City in 2000 where he worked as a model and real estate agent. Eventually, David was drawn back to Texas in 2005 to be closer to his family. After working in home healthcare for many years, he started working for Waco Tours full time at the beginning of 2017.
Rachel was born in Texas City, TX. Her family moved several times because her dad was in the U.S. Army, but she called Birmingham, AL home after receiving her master’s degree there. Before Rachel met David, she was a teacher in Birmingham for seven years. David and Rachel have two little girls, Ayla Rose and Georgia.
The Ridleys can often be found fishing, exercising, and laughing together. They enjoy spending time with their family and friends and having people over to their home.
Meet Our Staff
Heather Venable started off as an excited guest and is now the Tour Manager for Waco Tours. She is a fierce lover of people, an avid traveler and a learner at heart. She studied Chinese and Communications in Minnesota and China. Waco Tours is her dream team and job - she still has to pinch herself regularly to make sure this isn’t just a dream!
Jake Rhoton grew up in Big Spring, TX, came to Waco in 2020, and has loved the small-town feel with big-city options it has offered for him and his family. After doing church ministry for 10 years in several cities, he jumped into Waco Tours where he loves getting to connect with people and show them what they’re missing when it comes to all things Waco. Jake currently serves as our Sales Manager. He loves to get to know each person’s story and serve them in a variety of ways, with his favorite being the golf cart around downtown. If you see him make sure you say hello!
Cindy Venable spent most of her life in the Texas Panhandle. Her drawl is no act, y’all. She moved to Waco, the heart of Texas, in 2011. Cindy loves wildflowers, chips and salsa, and southern hospitality. As Mercantile Lead, she gets the joy of welcoming guests to our lovely shop and Waco living room where they meet their guides and begin their tour.
Ben Venable grew up in the Texas Panhandle, then traveled to forty-one states and six countries while working for a non-profit organization after high school. An avid reader, musician, and lover of dad jokes, Ben has done the most tours in Waco Tours history and is honored to serve alongside the most hospitable staff this side of the Brazos River as General Manager at Waco Tours. Anytime he's not driving our vans or entertaining our guests, you'll find Ben hanging out with his lovely wife, Heather, and beautiful baby boy.