Assistant Directors announced for 86th Forest Festival

ELKINS — Mountain State Forest Festival (MSFF) Director General Peggy Phillips announces the appointment of the Queen’s Department Director, Deputy Director, and the Assistant Directors for the 86th MSFF. Coordinating this year’s MSFF will be Queen’s Department Director Megan Casto; Deputy Director Lisa Shaffer; and Assistant Directors Anthony Bates, Nathaniel Bonnell, Keith Corley, Zach Elbon, Tracy Gooden, Jennifer Morgan, Whitney Morris, Todd Riggleman, Brian Romero, Jeff Skidmore, Karrah Washington, and Derek Wetsch.

Megan Casto will be serving her second year as the Director of the Queen’s Department. She will lead the planning, coordinating, and delivering of all activities for the Royal Court of the 86th MSFF. In 2022, Casto served as an Assistant for the Queen’s Department. She and her family have been actively involved with the MSFF for many years. Casto has volunteered on several committees to include Princess Orientation, Minor Court, Princess Ambassador, Window Decorating, and Pet Show. She was a Flower Girl in the 1995 MSFF and was a Maid of Honor in the 2008 MSFF. Her husband Dusty was a Trumpeteer for the MSFF from 1998-2000. Casto and her husband have two daughters, Callie and Everly. Callie served as a Scepter Bearer in the 2019 MSFF. Casto is employed as an accountant at Woodford Oil Company.

Lisa Shaffer will be serving as the Deputy Director for the 86th MSFF. Lisa previously served six years as a Queen’s Department Assistant. She and her husband, Ben, have been active volunteers with the MSFF for many years. Lisa has been involved with the Distinguished Guest Dinner and Queen’s Ball Committees, Band Field Show, Window Decorating, Lumberjack Contest, and Horseshoe Tournament. Ben served as Director General of the 78th MSFF and President of the MSFF Board of Directors from 2021-2023. Her niece, Haleigh Riggleman, was a Flower Girl in 2013 and a Princess in 2022. Niece Sarah Riggleman served as a Maid of Honor in the 84th edition of the festival in 2022. Shaffer is employed by the Randolph County Housing Authority.

Anthony “Tony” Bates returns for his seventh year as an Assistant Director.  He is employed by the United States Department of Justice. He is actively involved with the WVSSAC Registered Basketball Officials and is the President of the North Central Officials Association. He is a member of the Phillips Chapel United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Krista, have three daughters, Haley, Presley, and Ella and a granddaughter, Maeve. Presley served as a Flower Girl in the 2012 MSFF and was a Jester in the 2014 MSFF. Tony has volunteered and been responsible for coordinating the Strongest Man/Woman in the Forest Competition, Lumberjack Contest, Archery Shoot, Mini Horse Show, Vendor Row, and Sanitation. For the 86th MSFF, Bates has been tasked with managing the Cornhole Tournament, Muzzleloading Competition, Vendor Row, and Sanitation.

Nathaniel Bonnell will serve his third year as an Assistant Director. He is the President and CEO of Citizens Bank of West Virginia and Citizens Financial Corp. Bonnell holds a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Information Systems Auditor, and Chartered Global Management Accountant designation. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Randolph County Development Authority, Rotary Club of Elkins, the West Virginia Bankers Association, and the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation. In addition, Bonnell is a member of the Board of Trustees of Davis & Elkins College. He is a member of American Institute of CPAs, West Virginia Society of CPAs, and the Young Presidents’ Organization. Bonnell is a 2014 graduate of Leadership West Virginia. Married to Christina Bonnell, they reside in Elkins with their two daughters, Braelyn and Kelsea. This year, he is tasked with managing and overseeing MSFF Plaques, Tennis/Pickleball Tournaments, 10K/5K Race, Cross Country Race, and Official Vehicles.

Keith Corley will return for his second year as an Assistant Director for the 86th MSFF. He is a retired member of the West Virginia State Police, serving 28 years in law enforcement. Corley and his wife, Beth, have two daughters, Kendall and Alexa, and son-in-law Dylan Eva. Beth was a Flower Girl in 1976 and a Princess in 1989. Kendall was a Jester in the 83rd MSFF. Corley is employed as a Funeral Home Assistant at Tomblyn Funeral Home. He and his wife own Tumble Time Gymnastics. This year, his events include the Kickoff Party, Information Booth, Car Show, Craft Show, and Grand Feature Parade.

Zach Elbon will be serving his fourth year as an Assistant Director. He graduated from WVU with a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering with a minor in Geology. Elbon spent the first 10 years of his professional career working as an engineer in the oil and gas field. Zach is employed with ProFrac Services as a support engineer. He has started several businesses including Emblazon Sign Company, Noble Investments Limited, and Noble Response Solutions, all with the goal of helping to create a vibrant small business community in Randolph County. He is the Vice President of the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce and is member of the 2024 class of Leadership Randolph. 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 Events, and Irish Road Bowling.

Tracy Gooden will begin her sixth year as an Assistant Director. Gooden 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 MSFF. Gooden is a mentor with Randolph County CLIMB.  She and her family attend the First Baptist Church in Elkins. Gooden previously served as Director of the Queen’s Department and on numerous MSFF committees including Children’s Fest, Downtown Window Decorations, Country Music Show and Tailgate Party, Crafts and More, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Highland Dance, Children’s Parade, and the Band Field Show. This year, she will lead the coordinating and planning for the Photography Exhibit, Kids Day in the Park, and the Highland Dance Competition.

Jennifer LaMora Morgan is serving her first year as an Assistant Director. Morgan is a partner at the law firm of Busch, Zurbuch & Thompson, PLLC, specializing in real estate law. She and her husband, Jon, have two children, Grant and Emma. Morgan and her family have been actively involved in Festival for many years. Her husband, Jon, most recently served as the Director General for the 85th MSFF. Her daughter, Emma, served as Crown Bearer in 2019. Jennifer served as Crown Bearer in 1987 and Maid of Honor in 2000. Both of Morgan’s parents, Ray and Sue LaMora, have had many years serving with the MSFF. Morgan is President of the Board of Trustees for the Elkins Randolph County Public Library. She and her family attend St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Morgan has previously served as the Chair for the MSFF Queen’s Quilt. This year, she will lead the coordinating and planning for the Parade of Children, Pet Show, and the Hospitality Tent.

Whitney Morris returns for her third year as an Assistant Director. Morris also served three years as an Assistant with the Queen’s Department. She has volunteered with the MSFF in multiple capacities and served on many committees over the years including the Children’s Parade, Band Field Show, and Grand Feature Parade. Morris lives in Elkins with her husband, Robbie, and two stepdaughters, Elin and Tinley. Robbie was Director General of the 84th MSFF, and Elin was a Flower Girl in 2018. Whitney is the Controller at Woodford Oil Company, a mentor with Randolph County CLIMB, and a member of Leadership Randolph 2024. She serves as a board member for Davis Health System Foundation, United Way, and Elkins Otters. This year, she will be responsible for Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Distinguished Guest Dinner, Queen’s Ball, and the first annual Mountain State Forest Festival Purse Bingo.

Todd Riggleman will return for his 14th year as an Assistant Director. He is the manager of distribution forestry with Mon Power, a FirstEnergy Company. Riggleman and his wife Robin have two sons, Garrett and Kyle, as well as a four-year old granddaughter, Hadley. Kyle served as Train Bearer in the 2009 MSFF. His sister, Kelly Gilbert, was a Jester in the 1981 MSFF. 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 announces sporting events at Elkins High School. Riggleman has worked on numerous events including the Lumberjack Contest, Strongman Competition, Information Booth, Bass Tournament, Flags and Banners, Fireman’s Parade, Forestry and Wood Products, Pet Show, Photography Exhibit, Miniature Horse Show, ATV Race, Poker Run, Vendor Row, Sanitation, Primitive Campers, and Grounds. This year, he will lead the coordination of Flags and Banners, Fireman’s Parade, Grounds, and the Primitive Campers.

Brian Romero will return for his third year as an Assistant Director. He works for The Corsi Group as the Director of Manufacturing. Romero and his wife, Beverly, have one son, Josh, and one daughter, Macie. Macie was a Jester in the 82nd MSFF in 2018. Romero is a board member of the Elkins Randolph County Chamber of Commerce and an assistant wrestling coach of the Davis & Elkins College wrestling team. Brian was also selected to the 2024 Leadership West Virginia program. Keeping in alignment with last year, Romero will manage and oversee the Forestry & Wood Products Exhibits, Strongest Team in the Forest Competition, and the Lumberjack Contest.

Jeff Skidmore will return to the MSFF for his seventh year as an Assistant Director. He has been employed by the Randolph County Assessor’s office for 27 years. He has been involved with Elkins Raceway for over 40 years and is currently the media director and director of Competition placement.  Skidmore has two nieces, Jackie Skidmore-Teter and Samantha Skidmore, who have both served as Princesses in the 2002 and 2006 MSFFs, respectively. Skidmore has previously volunteered for Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs. He has served on numerous MSFF committees including the Lumberjack Contest, Country Music Show, Gospel Show, Information Booth, ATV Race, Distinguished Guest Dinner and Queens Ball, Jack Basil Band Field Show, Band Recruitment for the Grand Feature Parade, ROTC units, Organizing Flags and Banners for the MSFF, The Indianapolis Police Department Motorcycle Drill Team, and many other events. This year, Skidmore will be overseeing the Downtown Stage events, the Indianapolis Motor Team, and the Country Music Show, as well as coordinating the Lights and Sound for all MSFF events.

Karrah Washington will serve her third year as an Assistant Director. She graduated from West Virginia University in 2012 with a degree in Social Work and Minors in both Child Development & Family Studies and Communication. She is employed as the Marketing Director/Office Manager for Nikki Rogers and Devon Rogers State Farm. She and her husband, Brandon, have one son, Brayton, and one daughter, Braelynn. Washington was a Princess in the 2008 MSFF. Most recently, Brayton served as Crown Bearer in the 2023 MSFF. Karrah is an Interact Children’s Museum Board Member, a Randolph County CLIMB mentor, and a member of Leadership Randolph 2024. In the past, Washington has volunteered with Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Distinguished Guest Dinner, and Queen’s Ball Committees.  This year, she will be responsible for the Downtown Window Decorations, the Official MSFF Program, Children’s Fest, and the ATV Event.

Derek Wetsch is serving his first year as an Assistant Director. He is the pharmacy manager for CVS Pharmacy in Buckhannon and is admitted to the West Virginia State Bar as an attorney. He and his wife, Allison, have one son, Henry. Wetsch served as a Boy Scout in 2001 and as a Trumpeteer in the 2005 and 2006 MSFF. He directed the Trumpeteers from 2007-2012 and, along with his family, coordinated the 2016 WVU Marching Band visit. He will be leading the coordination efforts of the Jack Basil Band Field Show and Bass Tournament.

Director General Peggy Phillips states, “I am so excited and extremely honored to be working alongside this group of dedicated and hardworking Assistant Directors. Their love, commitment, and comradery for the MSFF and this community shows in their outstanding work, and I am thankful for everything they have done and continue to do to ensure the success of the 86th ‘Timeless Traditions’ MSFF!”

The 86th edition of the Mountain State Forest Festival will be celebrated Sept. 28 – Oct. 6. More information is available by calling the festival office at 304-636-1824, visiting festival social media, or by visiting www.forestfestival.com.

Assistant Directors announced for 86th Forest Festival | News, Sports, Jobs – The Intermountain