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!

Photos by Jill Courtney

2020 ROYALTY

Jeff Raper
Scotty MacLaren

KING ULLR LXI

Scotty, a New Jersey native, was raised in Spokane, Washington. He earned his bachelor of art degree from The Colorado College. He met Gayle Lawrence while at Colorado College and they married shortly after graduation. Scotty enlisted in the Navy in May of 1972 and was commissioned an Ensign after completing Naval Aviation Officer Candidate training. During a 21-year Naval career he flew more than 1,000 flight hours as a Radar Intercept Officer in F-4 Phantom and F-14 Tomcat aircraft. He attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. While there he earned a master’s from Salve Regina College.

Scotty retired from the Navy as a lieutenant commander and began a short-lived second career with Horizon Airlines. He worked all facets of ground operations at SEATAC and then transferred to Whitefish to supervise Horizon operations at Glacier Park International Airport. In February 1996 he started work at Semitool as a trainer/technical writer. He remained a technical writer after Applied Materials purchased Semitool until his second retirement in November 2012.

Scotty helped lay sod for the first two soccer fields at the Smith Field Sports Complex. Scotty became a FIFA/USSF certified soccer referee in 1997 and a MHSA/MOA certified high school soccer official in 1999. He has recertified every year since. He serves as the secretary/treasurer of the MHSA Region 1 soccer referee pool. He officiates high school and recreational soccer during the fall and select youth soccer during the spring.

He has been a Whitefish Theatre Co. volunteer since 1998 when the O’Shaughnessy Center first opened. He taught himself to program and operate the theater lighting and sound systems. He creates and maintains the WTC and O’Shaughnessy Center websites and creates a video promoting each season. He helped the Project Whitefish Kids board develop its first website. Scotty designed the Whitefish Bulldog license plate for the Whitefish School District Education Foundation.

Scotty and Gayle raised two children in Whitefish, Duncan and Abigail.

Jeff Raper
Gayle MacLaren

QUEEN OF THE SNOWS

A native of Sterling, Illinois, Gayle left the cornfields for the mountains and lakes of the West. After summers in Wisconsin with the lakes and trees and ski trips and college in Colorado, Montana was the perfect combination. She and Scotty met at Colorado College and embarked on a tour of the world. Twenty-five years ago they settled in Whitefish and found “home.”

Since moving to Whitefish Gayle has been involved with the Whitefish Theatre Co., the last five years as executive director. She is a former Whitefish School Board member, a member of the founding board of Project Whitefish Kids, a current member of the Whitefish Education Foundation Board of Directors and is also the Whitefish representative on the Flathead Electric Round-Up For Safety Board. For the past 16 years, she has chaired the successful fundraiser, Project Whitefish, a joint fundraiser for WTC and Project Whitefish Kids.

Gayle loves walking with her friends, cooking and giving parties, paddling rivers, hiking, reading, and hanging out at the Whitefish Theatre Company.

Jeff Raper
Marcus Duffey

PRIME MINISTER LXI

Marcus Duffey hails from West Texas, but left Texas to attend Gonzaga University. Marcus met his wife, Audrey (Peterson) there and they married soon after graduation. They moved back to Audrey’s hometown of Whitefish as quickly as they could. The Duffey’s have enjoyed life in the Flathead Valley with their four children for the past twelve years. Rearing their children (George – 7, Charley – 5, Jane – 3, Ruth – 1) in the mountain town of Whitefish was a dream of theirs. Marcus grew a prominent local business for nearly a dozen years and proudly participated in dozens of local events and organizations. Today he maintains much of his community involvement as he sits on the North Valley Hospital Foundation Board of Directors and he chairs the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Today, Marcus is a Realtor with Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty. Marcus enjoys the great outdoors as a fisherman, hunter, skier and golfer, as well as a passion for cooking and gardening. In the summer, you will often find Marcus and his family camping alongside a river somewhere in northwest Montana.

Stephanie Skinner
Sara Straka

DUCHESS OF LARK LXI

Straka is a Whitefish native, born in 1985 to Joe and Cindy Straka, who relocated to Montana from the midwest in the early 80’s. She was raised in Whitefish with her younger brother Sam, attended Whitefish schools and graduated at the top of her class in 2003. She attended college at the University of Notre Dame and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Longing for the mountains and the familiarity of her hometown, she moved back to Whitefish shortly after finishing college.

Planning to take a “year off” before pursuing a career or graduate studies, Straka worked in local restaurants and spent her time enjoying being home in Montana. One year quickly turned into a decade, and she found she loved the hospitality industry, interacting with people from all walks of life, locals and tourists alike. She currently is the Front of House Manager at Last Chair Kitchen and Bar, and can still be found some evenings in the restaurant, although she now primarily works full-time as a Branch Office Administrator at Edward Jones Investments.

She enjoys spending her free time with her partner of nine years, Jason Callihan, and their two dogs, Ruckus and Cannon. They are usually rafting the North Fork, camping or exploring Northwest Montana in the summer, and skiing the Mountain in the winter. Straka is actively involved in the community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Nate Chute Foundation for suicide prevention, a cause she is deeply passionate about. She has previously participated in Whitefish Winter Carnival as a Viking Diva, following in the footsteps of Jason’s mother Teresa Kelly, who was one of the original Divas.

2019 Royalty
King Ullr LX

Paul Coats

KING ULLR LX

Patricia Ryan

QUEEN OF THE SNOWS

Dr. Kanyon Smith

PRIME MINISTER LX

Duchess of Lark

Christine Rossi

Duchess of Lark 

2018 Royalty

Paul Johannsen

KING ULLR LIX

Lani Johnson

QUEEN OF THE SNOWS

Jeff Raper

PRIME MINISTER LIX

Stephanie Skinner

Duchess of Lark 

2017 Royalty

Ross Strauser

KING ULLR LVIII

Sue Strauser

QUEEN OF THE SNOWS

Nick Spear

PRIME MINISTER LVIII

Renee Olson

Duchess of Lark

2016 Royalty

Ray Boksich

KING ULLR LVII

Jerrie Boksich

QUEEN OF THE SNOWS

Joe Akey

PRIME MINISTER LVII

Brenda Twete

Duchess of Lark

2015 Royalty

Lin Akey

KING ULLR LVI

Anita Welch

QUEEN OF THE SNOWS

Luke Walrath

PRIME MINISTER LVI

Linda Ray

Duchess of Lark

2014 Royalty

Mark Svennungsen

KING ULLR LV

Sue Schenck

QUEEN OF THE SNOWS

John Peschel

PRIME MINISTER LV

Miriam Lewis

DUCHESS OF LARK

2013 Royalty

Harry Brown

KING ULLR LIV

Nancy Brown

QUEEN OF THE SNOWS

Josh Akey

PRIME MINISTER LIV

Alicia Blake

DUCHESS OF LARK

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