While some West Virginians are realizing the need to come home after leaving the Mountain State, others have lived here for years.
Arden “Jamie” Cogar Jr.’s family has called the state their home for generations. “I’m a fifth generation West Virginian,” Cogar said. He was born into a logging family in Webster County, who first settled in the mountains of West Virginia just before the Civil War. From the age of six, he worked with his father, Arden Sr., to learn the traditions of the forest, including splitting firewood and cutting timber. The lessons of the forest and timber industry that were passed from his parents emphasized the importance of hard work and perseverance and continued to influence him through adulthood.
As a result, Cogar is a senior associate at MacCorkle, Lavender & Sweeney, a law firm with offices in Charleston and Morgantown, and a top-ranked lumberjack sports competitor. He started to compete in the sport at the age of eight. “I see West Virginia as the perfect balance of wilderness and metropolitan area,” Cogar said.
West Virginia is home to more than a dozen fairs and festivals that host timber sporting events. “The celebration of the old-time logging heritage is expressed through lumberjack sports,” said Cogar. “It’s a sport predicated upon the hard work and sweat that eventually built the infrastructure and homes of many million Americans.” These logging events are among many other festivals throughout the state that celebrate everything from the state’s bountiful harvest to its folk music.