Each year Whitefish Winter Carnival celebrates a Royal Court. Candidates are nominated for their outstanding service to Whitefish, and are voted upon by multiple groups across the community. We are thrilled to recognize the many exceptional individuals who make up the Whitefish Winter Carnival Royal Court.

Thank you for all you do!

Tony Veseth

Doug Zignego


Doug was born and raised in Miles City and graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1969. His father owned and operated DeLuxe Motors, the
Montana State University, graduating with a Mechanical Engineering degree in 1974. Following his father’s footsteps, Doug joined the Navy and became a Naval Aviator. In 1975, hejoined his first VP squadron in Moffett Field, CA, flying the P-3 which is a 4-engine turboprop aircraft used in anti-submarine warfare (ASW). During his next tour, while stationed at Whidbey Island with VA-128, he met his future wife, Christine. They married in August of 1980 with plans to see the world and raise a family. Matt, the first of their island babies, was born in Sept 1981.

Orders and Opportunities followed. The first duty station as a family was at Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations Center, Lajes Air Force Base, Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal for two years and their second island baby, Nick was born on Terceira Island in Sept 1984.
After Lajes, they transferred to the Naval War College at Newport, RI, to attend the Command and Staff College for a year. Doug earned two masters degrees (Strategic Studies and International Relations) while in Newport.

They were then transferred to VP-17, Barbers Point, Hawaii for Doug’s last operational command in anti-submarine warfare and is where Katie Lee, the last of their island babies was born in March 1987.

In 1988, they took a set of orders to Naples, Italy to join the the staff which controlled all of the US Navy logistical support throughout the Mediterranean Sea, Doug worked in Operations and Plans for COMFAIRMED. Naples provided an excellent opportunity to continue their plans to see the world. They were able to visit many parts of Europe including Italy and other neighboring countries.

In 1990, Doug transferred to Headquarters, European Command, J-3 Operations Directorate, located in Stuttgart, Germany and was a command duty officer for the Crisis Action Team which monitored and controlled operations in Northern Iraq and the Balkans.

In 1994, he received orders to his final duty station at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Pt Mugu, CA where he was involved with flying the P-3 range aircraft and managing all of the aviation personnel as the executive officer. He retired as a Navy Commander (O-5) after 21 years of service and with over 4600 hrs of accumulated flight time.

Choosing to live in Whitefish, they moved with three children and a trailer full of essential items to survive the summer of 1995 and prepare for another new school in the fall. Chris becamE immediately involved with the schools and local fundraising.

Doug was fortunate enough to be hired by Semitool in Kalispell to initially manage training and documentation for Semitherm. He soon transferred to technical marketing to present Semitool’s products to the semiconductor industry. He travelled extensively to Asia to meet with and answer technical questions from customers.

In 1999, Doug became a real estate agent and joined RE/MAX of Whitefish where he spent the next 14 years. During this time, Doug participated with the Northwest Montana Association of REALTORS, joined the Kiwanis Club in Whitefish, served on the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce board, Boy Scout Troop 36 Committee Chairman, and other volunteer organizations. He was honored to be selected as Realtor of the Year for 2011. Since 2015, he
has been a Broker associated with National Parks Realty - Whitefish where he works with his son, Matt.

Tony Veseth

Chris Zignego


Army Brat, Naval Officer, Navy wife and Navy Mom. Chris began her life in Asmara, Eritrea where her father was stationed with the US Army. Between then and her arrival in Whitefish in 1995 she moved 23 times and attended 17 different school. Four High Schools and two colleges.

Following Doug’s retirement there was no question that the family would return to Montana; Bozeman or Whitefish in the running. Familiar with Whitefish from early days of skiing, ownership of property purchased in 1981 and the allure of a small town in which to raise their children they arrived in August of 1995.

Children, Matthew a freshman, Nicholas a 5th grader and Katie a 3rd grader entered Whitefish High School, Central School and Muldown respectively. In those early years Chris did the usual Mom activities, room mother, GS Leader and Cookie chairman, Founding member of BS Troop 1936, its first Committee Chairman and later Scoutmaster, and of course chauffeur.

She soon joined the Whitefish Community Center fundraising effort as secretary/girl Friday. Staying with the organization to realize the building of Whitefish’s beloved library and O’Shaughnessy Cultural Arts Center. Next on her fund raising endeavors was a similar position with Project Whitefish Kids seeing the Smith fields become a reality. She has volunteered faithfully at the annual Wine and Food Tasting event that benefits both Whitefish Theatre Company and the Smith Fields.

A member of St Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish, Chris has long served in various positions; choir member, Lay Eucharistic Minister, Religious Education Teacher and cook. Always a Pie Social contributor.

Chris worked 21 years as the laboratory manager at Glacier Medical Associates from which she recently retired. She witnessed its growth from small clinic housed across from the WF post office to the large independent clinic that now serves Whitefish, Columbia Falls and surrounding areas with caring professionalism.

Now retired Chris looks forward to lots of grandchildren time, gardening, maybe beekeeping, new volunteer opportunities and travel. It is time she sees all that Montana and the US have to offer after her many years living in Europe.

She is honored and excited to serve Whitefish as Queen of the Snows and looks forward to representing her much loved home town, the only home town she has ever known, in the coming year.

Tony Veseth

Tony Veseth


Hailing from the legendary Hi-Line of Montana, Tony Veseth was born in Wolf Point, and grew up in Malta, a 4th Generation Montana son. Working in the family business, the Villa Theater, from an early age taught Veseth a lot about working in a small community and being there for each other. Community has always meant a lot to Tony and he continues to keep up with family tradition and build community in Whitefish. Tony was one of those lucky Montana kids who spent every summer of his life enjoying days on Flathead and Echo Lake, where his mother still resides. Living a blessed life, Tony cherishes his family’s legacy, spanning the length of Montana between Phillips County and the Flathead Valley.

After a few years attending college at U of M in Missoula, Veseth made his way to Whitefish permanently in 1995 and opened his first business, Out of this World Imports on Wisconsin Avenue. He attributes the business to introducing him to life long friends and all the hippies and freaks in Whitefish. The business supported a travelling bug and took him throughout Southeast Asia. Following that endeavor, Veseth worked sales jobs for Montana Coffee Traders and Fun Beverage where he built relationships that he still values today. In 2007, Veseth began his career with Farm Bureau Financial Services and continues to this day protecting his clients throughout the Flathead Valley.

Veseth got involved with the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce 15 years ago first as a member, then Chamber Ambassador, and finally over 8 years on the Board of Directors. His friend and client, June Munski, talked him into volunteering at the North Valley Food Bank 10 years ago, and he still gathers rescue food from local grocery stores every Thursday. He can sometimes be found helping a few of the old timers from town processing game animals that are brought in by hunters and Fish and Game. He now sits on the Board of Directors and fills seats on two committees. The Food Bank has become Tony’s passion and he is quite vocal about everyone doing what they can to help out those who need help. Veseth is also past president of the Whitefish Moose Lodge 642 and continues to fill a seat on the board, and every now and then bartend as a volunteer.

Veseth enjoys all the Valley has to offer and has been skiing on Big Mountain since 1980. It was always a treat to ski Big Mountain after having learned to ski at Showdown (King’s Hill) outside of Great Falls. The smell of Back Deck burgers at The ‘Stube are one of his fondest memories while riding the old Chair One 26 minutes to the summit. Nordic skiing still gets him some much needed exercise around the Valley. Veseth lives with his girlfriend, the legendary Lisa Olson, who has taught school at Muldown for 29 years. Olson(Mavencamp) graduated Whitefish High School in 1988 and received her teaching degree from UM in 1992. She has taught and influenced well over 500 students throughout her career. Together, Veseth and Olson enjoy travelling, spending as much time in and on water as possible, being with family and friends, going to concerts around the country and immersing themselves in the live music community of Whitefish. They can always be seen out and about, having fun and spreading the love throughout our community.

Tony is honored and excited about what the next year as Prime Minister will bring! Skol!!

Kellie Cahill

Kellie Cahill


Kellie Cahill hails from Michigan originally where she was born and raised by her parents, Pat and Colin Colbert. She had a wonderful midwest upbringing and made her way to Central Michigan University for five years earning Biology and Earth Science degrees. A week after graduation she and her sister, Corrie, took off to follow Route 66 in a ‘78 Volkswagen bus and traveled the country for a month. With no agenda other than a mule ride into the Grand Canyon and Grateful Dead tickets in Vegas they camped, traveled, explored and broke down and eventually made it home. It was at this point that Kellie declared ‘The west is best!’ and packed what she could fit into her car and took off to live in Tempe AZ. After serving millions of wings as a Hooters girl she decided to work in Grand Teton for a summer and flew the coop to WY. This is where her love of national parks was born and made the most of living in a national park for the summer. Then, it was off to Europe for a month after which she decided beach life had to be tried and she landed in Ocean Beach CA for a couple years. The tan was deep, the sun was constant, more wings were served and living a block from the ocean was dreamy! Restless once again, she decided to check out the northern rockies for a summer not knowing the summer of ‘99 would start her love affair with Montana!

Kellie drove north to work in East Glacier and fell in love with the park. Working in the lodge at night gave her ample opportunity to enjoy all Glacier had to offer. Fall rolled around and she decided to give ski bum life a chance and moved to Whitefish to work on the Big. Seasonal life was fun and Kellie then spent two summers as a ranger in Glacier and winters working at Moguls and life was grand. More surprises were in store and finding out her son was on his way prompted a less seasonal lifestyle and a more permanent move to Whitefish. Both of her children, Brenden and Loden, were born and raised in Whitefish and were fortunate to have an amazing upbringing full of small town vibes, friends, hiking, rafting, skiing and travel. Both graduated from Whitefish High School and Brenden went to play lacrosse for the University of Montana and graduated as a Diesel Tech and is back working in the valley. Loden is a student at Montana State University and living and working in Bozeman.

Kellie’s parents moved to the Fish in ‘04 and her sister and brother in law followed. Having her whole family here is truly special! You may have her as a server at the Buffalo Cafe or The Whitefish Lake Restaurant where she has been living the dream with her second family for over a decade! She has called Whitefish home for 23 years and counting. Kellie is honored to be a part of history and tradition by representing the Winter Carnival as the Duchess of Lark LXIV!

Photos by Jill Courtney

2022 Royalty

Geoffrey Calaway


Lisa Calaway


Joel Pemberton


Clare Goble

Duchess of Lark LXIII

2020, 2021 Royalty

Scotty MacLaren


Gayle MacLaren


Marcus Duffey


Sara Straka

Duchess of Lark

2019 Royalty
King Ullr LX

Paul Coats


Patricia Ryan


Dr. Kanyon Smith


Duchess of Lark

Christine Rossi

Duchess of Lark

2018 Royalty

Paul Johannsen


Lani Johnson


Jeff Raper


Stephanie Skinner

Duchess of Lark

2017 Royalty

Ross Strauser


Sue Strauser


Nick Spear


Renee Olson

Duchess of Lark

2016 Royalty

Ray Boksich


Jerrie Boksich


Joe Akey


Brenda Twete

Duchess of Lark

2015 Royalty

Lin Akey


Anita Welch


Luke Walrath


Linda Ray

Duchess of Lark

2014 Royalty

Mark Svennungsen


Sue Schenck


John Peschel


Miriam Lewis


2013 Royalty

Harry Brown


Nancy Brown


Josh Akey


Alicia Blake


To view all past Carnival Royalty, be sure to visit
the Whitefish Historical Society, located at the Whitefish Train Depot!