Mountain State Forest Festival Director General Robbie Morris announces the appointment of the Queen’s Department Director, Deputy Director, and the Assistant Directors for the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival. Coordinating this year’s Festival will be Queen’s Department Director Tracy Gooden; Deputy Director Jon Morgan; and Assistant Directors Nathaniel Bonnell, Heidi Bray, Melanie Dempsey, David Doerr, Zach Elbon, Amanda Jones, Christina “Chrissy” Kittle, Todd Riggleman, Brian Romero, Jeff Skidmore, Jodi Varner, and Karrah Washington.
Tracy Gooden will serve her first year as Director of the Queen’s Department, having previously served three years as an Assistant Director. She is employed as a Data Associate for Vizient Inc. She and her husband, Ron, have one daughter, Abigale Sicca, who served as a Princess in the 80th Mountain State Forest Festival in 2016. Tracy is a member of the Randolph County CLIMB Mentorship Program. She and her family attend the First Baptist Church of Elkins.
Tracy has served on several festival committees, including Queen’s Ball, Downtown Window Decorations, Band Field Show, Distinguished Guest Dinner, Country Music Show and Tailgate Party, Crafts & More, and Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
Jon Morgan will begin his eighth year with the Mountain State Forest Festival and will serve as Deputy Director General. He works for the U.S. Forest Service as the District Ranger on the Cheat-Potomac Ranger District on the Monongahela National Forest. He and his wife, Jennifer, have one son Grant and one daughter Emma. Jennifer was Crown Bearer in the 1987 Mountain State Forest Festival, a Maid of Honor in the 2000 Forest Festival, and Emma was the Crown Bearer in the 83rd Mountain State Forest Festival.
Morgan is a past President of the Elkins Kiwanis Club. He has volunteered on City Park Events, Irish Road Bowling, Lumberjack Contest, Security, Communications, and the Band Field Show committees. This year, Morgan is responsible for Security, Communications, and Irish Road Bowling.
Nathaniel Bonnell will serve his first year as an Assistant Director. He is President and CEO of Citizens Bank of West Virginia and Citizens Financial Corp. Bonnell holds a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation. Bonnell serves on the Board of Directors of the Randolph County Development Authority, Rotary Club of Elkins, and the West Virginia Bankers Association. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Davis & Elkins College. He is a past President of the Randolph-Tucker Children’s Advocacy Center’s Board of Directors. He is a member of American Institute of CPAs and West Virginia Society of CPAs and recently joined YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization).
He is a 2014 graduate of Leadership West Virginia. Bonnell graduated Valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude at Davis & Elkins College with a BS in Accounting and Management and earned an MBA from WVU. Married to Christina Bonnell, Nathaniel resides in Elkins with their two daughters, Braelyn and Kelsea. Bonnell will be responsible for the 10K Race, Cross Country Race, and Muzzleloading Competition as well as assisting with City Park events.
Heidi Bray will serve her first year as an Assistant Director. She has volunteered with the festival for several years helping with decorations for the Queen’s Ball, Distinguished Guest Dinner, Coronation Stage, and Downtown Windows. In 2001, Heidi was a Flower Girl in the 65th Mountain State Forest Festival and served as a Maid of Honor in the 73rd Mountain State Forest Festival in 2009. She is employed as a staff accountant at Carte Hall CPA. Heidi and her husband, C.J., are active with Elkins Kiwanis where Heidi serves as club president.
This year, Heidi will be coordinating the Opening and Closing Ceremonies along with the Distinguished Guest Dinner and Queen’s Ball.
Melanie Dempsey will be serving her fourth year as an Assistant Director. She and her husband, Bill, have two daughters, Gabrielle and Caitlynn. Gabrielle was the Crown Bearer for the 80th Mountain State Forest Festival in 2016.
Melanie earned her undergraduate degrees in accounting, biology, and chemistry from Davis & Elkins College and completed a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration at WVU. She is employed by the West Virginia Hospital Association as the Vice President of Financial Policy.
She is involved in and volunteers with several organizations, including Randolph County Schools, Excel Travel Soccer Club, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and the American College of Healthcare Executives. Melanie serves as a board member for the Davis Health System Foundation and is a member of the Board of Trustees for Davis & Elkins College. She has volunteered with the festival for many years as an Assistant Director, Director of the Queen’s Department, Minor Court committee, Beer Festival, Kid’s Day in the Park, Children’s Parade, and Hospitality Tents.
This year, Melanie will be coordinating the Kid’s Day in the Park activities, the Children’s Parade, themed, “Creatures of the Mon”, and the Festival Program.
David C. Doerr will serve his first year as an Assistant Director. David and his wife Kayla have one daughter, Evelyn.
David served as a Train Bearer in the 65th Mountain State Forest Festival. He is the President of Doerr Corporation, a family-owned development and high-end rental company. He manages over 70 rental properties in Elkins and Buckhannon and oversees the ongoing construction projects. He has also started his own business of fixing up homes in Elkins and providing high-end properties for the citizens of Elkins.
David is on the Board of Directors of Elkins Main Street and is a member of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce. For the 84th Festival, David will coordinate Vendor Row, the Pet Show, and the Cornhole Tournament.
Zach Elbon will be serving his second year as an Assistant Director. He graduated from WVU with a BS degree in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering with a minor in Geology. Elbon currently works for US Well Services LLC in Jane Lew, WV as a DESQ Engineer. He also owns and operates a local sign shop, Emblazon Sign Company in Elkins, WV. He is a member of the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce.
Zach and his wife, Megan, have volunteered for the Mountain State Forest Festival for numerous events including Golf Tournament, Grand Feature Parade, Chili Cook-Off, City Park, Irish Road Bowling, Scrapbook, Princess Ambassador Program, Queen’s Ball, and Distinguished Guest Dinner. Megan served as a Flower Girl in 2001 and a Maid of Honor in 2012. They have one daughter, Ella.
This year, Zach is responsible for the Golf Tournament, City Park, Irish Road Bowling, and Grand Feature Parade.
Amanda Jones will serve her third year as an Assistant Director for the Mountain State Forest Festival. Jones is a Family Nurse Practitioner at Valley Health Care, Inc. She and her husband, JW, have one daughter, Kourtney, who was a Flower Girl in the 2015 Mountain State Forest Festival.
Amanda serves as Board President for Mountain Living. She has assisted and sponsored numerous events over the years. This year she will be responsible for the Bass Tournament, ATV Ride, Hospitality Tent, Safety and Security, and Indianapolis Metropolitan Motorcycle Drill Team.
Christina “Chrissy” Kittle will serve her fifth year as an Assistant Director. She is the Executive Director of Mountain Memories Assisted Living and Retirement Center, LLC.
She and her husband, Matt, have 4 children, Sydney Mullenax, Hallie LeHosit (Logan), Dahlton and Mateah Kittle. Sydney was a Flower Girl in the 2008 Mountain State Forest Festival and a Maid of Honor in the 2017 Mountain State Forest Festival. Mateah was a princess in the 2016 Forest Festival.
Kittle currently serves on the Randolph County Senior Center Board as Secretary. Throughout her volunteer years Kittle has assisted with the Queen’s Ball, Distinguished Guest Dinner, Photography Exhibit, Coronation, Princess Housing, Band Field Show, Kid’s Day in the Park, and Heat in the Street Chili and Wings Cook-off.
This year, Chrissy will be responsible for Saturday Night-Return to Festival City Downtown Party, Information Booth, and Crafts & More.
Brian Romero will begin his first year as an Assistant Director for the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival. He works for James Hardie Building Products as the Continuous Improvement Manager for the US and Asia Operations. He and his wife, Beverly, have one son Josh and one daughter Macie. Macie was a Jester in the 82nd Mountain State Forest Festival in 2018. Romero is a board member of the Elkins Randolph County Chamber of Commerce and an assistant wrestling coach of the Davis & Elkins wrestling team.
This year, Romero will oversee the Forestry Exhibits, Strongman Competition, and the Lumberjack Competition.
Todd Riggleman will return for his twelfth year as an Assistant Director. He is the manager of distribution forestry with Mon Power, a FirstEnergy Company. He and his wife Robin have two sons, Garrett and Kyle. Kyle served as Train Bearer in the 2009 Forest Festival. His sister, Kelly Gilbert, was a Jester in the 1981 Mountain State Forest Festival. Riggleman attends Woodford Memorial United Methodist Church.
He has served as a volunteer with the Elks Babe Ruth Baseball League for more than 14 years and also volunteers for the Odd Fellows Group.
Todd has worked on numerous events including the Lumberjack Competition, Strongman Competition, Information Booth, Bass Tournament, Flags and Banners, Fireman’s Parade, Forestry/Wood Products, Pet Show, Photography Exhibit, Miniature Horse Show, ATV Race, Poker Run, Vendors, and Sanitation and Grounds.
For the 2022 festival, Todd will coordinate the ATV Ride, Primitive Campers, Fireman’s Parade, Indianapolis Metropolitan Motorcycle Drill Team, and Grounds.
Jeff Skidmore will return for his fifth year as an Assistant Director. He has been employed by the Randolph County Assessor’s Office for 24 years; has been involved with the Elkins Raceway for over 40 years and is currently the media director and director of competition placement. Skidmore also works for American Mountain Productions based out of the Robinson Grand Theater in Clarksburg.
He has previously volunteered for Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs. He has served on numerous festival committees including Lumberjack Competition, Country Music Show, Gospel Show, Information Booth, ATV Race, Distinguished Guest Dinner, Queen’s Ball, Jack Basil Band Field Show, band recruitment for the Grand Feature Parade, ROTC, and organizing the flags and banners for the festival.
He has two nieces, Jackie Skidmore-Teter and Samantha Skidmore who have both served as princesses in the 2002 and 2006 Mountain State Forest Festivals respectively. Jeff will be responsible for the Downtown Stage Entertainment and Lights and Sound. He is instrumental in bringing the Indianapolis Metropolitan Motorcycle Drill Team to this year’s festival.
Jodie Varner will serve her fourth year as an Assistant Director for the Mountain State Forest Festival. Varner is a resident of Beverly, WV. She is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and is employed by Randolph County Board of Education as a teacher.
Jodie has served on various committees including Minor Court committee, Princess Orientation, Cross Country Meet, 10K/5K Race and Kids Fun Run, Grand Feature Parade, Heat in the Street Chili Cook-off, Golf Tournament, Kids Fest, and Pet Show. She served as a Mountain State Forest Festival Princess in 1997 and her niece, Shay Teter Hayes, was the Crown Bearer in 1997.
Jodie is a member of the Beverly Women’s Club, serves on the WV 4-H All Star Executive Committee, WVU 4-H Extension Service volunteer, and is a past member of the Kump Education Center Board of Directors. Jodie attends Summit Church.
She will oversee the Grand Feature Parade, Pet Show, and Kids Fest for this year’s festivities.
Karrah Washington will serve her first year as an Assistant Director. She is employed as the Executive Director for the Barbour County Senior Center, Inc. dba Here and There Transit.
She and her husband, Brandon, have one son Brayton and one daughter Braelynn.
Karrah was a Princess in the 2008 Mountain State Forest Festival.
Washington is the past Executive Director for the United Way of Randolph County and is very active within her community. She has volunteered with Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Distinguished Guest Dinner, and Queen’s Ball committees in the past.
This year, Karrah will be responsible for Downtown Window Decorations, Photography, Highland Dance, and Band Field Show.
Robbie Morris states, “I’m very proud to be serving alongside this distinguished group of hardworking and dedicated Assistant Directors. Their love and passion for the Forest Festival shows in their work and I am eternally grateful for everything they have done and continue to do to ensure the success of the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival!”
The 84th Mountain State Forest Festival will be celebrated October 1 through October 9, 2022. More information is available at www.forestfestival.com or at 304-636-1824.