Legal eagle soars in lumberjack sport
By Catherine Zacchi and Patricia Sizemore
From his winning record to his imposing physique, attorney Arden "Jamie" Cogar Jr. commands respect in a court of law.
The West Virginia native is also a fierce competitor in lumberjack sports, as evidenced by his multiple awards and championship titles.
Cogar works as a civil defense trial attorney with MacCorkle Lavender & Sweeney with law offices in Charleston and Morgantown, W.Va. His practice focuses on products liability, insurance defense and general commercial litigation. He sits in a law office or court room or in front of a computer terminal for up to 70 hours a week.
After work, his passion shifts to wielding an axe or saw in a showdown of timbering skills.
"I was born into a logging family in Webster County," Cogar said. "My family has been involved in lumberjack sports for three generations. I started competing while in elementary school. What I learned from splitting firewood, cutting timber, and setting chokers has carried over into my adult life: work hard and persevere."
That ardent determination propelled him to the top of his high school class. He enrolled at West Virginia University, where he earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees, graduating Summa Cum Laude. The following year, Cogar received his masters degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Four years later, he earned his Juris Doctorate.
"Law is my profession and lumberjack sports my passion, Cogar said. Those who have met me know I bring that zeal and positive attitude into both fields. I have lived by the sweat of my brow and understand the importance of working hard for what I want. I have a friendly nature and am willing to roll up my sleeves and get dirty. During my 10 years in the legal profession, I have tried numerous cases throughout West Virginia and received favorable results for my clients."
While in college, he worked as a personal trainer, a research assistant, and a tutor. As time permitted, he returned to the West Virginia forests to assist his aging father. It was then he became serious about timbersport competition.
To date, Cogar has been a 13-time finalist in ESPNs STIHL Timbersports Series; a multi-time winner in ESPNs Great Outdoor Games; a multi-time Carhartt Chopping Champion; 2006 Standing Block World Champion; captain of STIHLs United States National Lumberjack team; and winner of 43 individual world titles including the 2007 All Around World Title at the Webster County Woodchopping Festival.
"My legal career and my athletic career are rooted in the hills of West Virginia. I can never see myself working anywhere but West Virginia," he said. "I see West Virginia as the perfect balance of wilderness and metropolitan areas. My office is on the eighth floor in one of many high rises, yet I'm less than a 10-minute car ride from the countryside."
One of Cogars favorite spots in the state is Cathedral State Park in Aurora, Preston County. I get lost in nature in amongst the old growth trees. I love the outdoors. Lumberjack sports are normally part of an outdoor festival. The celebration of the old time logging heritage that helped build this country is expressed through lumberjack sports.
"That legacy is reflected in the people of West Virginia as well," Cogar said.
"We have the luxury of enjoying a culture that is predicated upon hard work and perseverance. For example, coal mining and timbering are two of the leading industries in our state," said Cogar. "Those professions personify the very backbone of hard work. Beyond this fundamental make up, the people of West Virginia are the friendliest, most courteous, most willing to lend a hand of any place I've experienced in my travels. Im proud to call West Virginia my home."
[Top and quote photo courtesy of Arden Cogar.]