Whitewood Transport of Billings, Mont., has been selected to transport the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, which it wull do using a specially designed Kenworth T680 Advantage.
The 53rd Capitol Christmas Tree will be sourced from the Kootenai National Forest in Montana before going on a 2,000-mile tour of the U.S. en route to the tree lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C., to be held in early December.
Along the way, the Capitol Christmas Tree will make appearances at 15 community celebrations. In total, the tour will make 20 stops in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, and Kentucky before arriving at the U.S. Capitol.
Whitewood Transport was chosen to be this year’s tree chauffeur due to its reputation in Montana’s trucking industry, according to Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors, a nonprofit that assists the U.S. Forest Service with coordinating the annual tour. Whitewood is a multiple-year recipient of the Motor Carrier of the Year from the Motor Carriers of Montana, including taking the 2016 honor.
Whitewood has also been recognized for its reputation for driver safety. Larry Spiekermeier, who has 1.6 million accident-free miles with the company, was selected to make the drive. He was named the Motor Carriers of Montana Driver of the Year in 2009 and 2015.
“It is an honor to be selected to carry the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and to represent the great state of Montana during the tree’s journey to Washington, D.C.,” said Mike Wilson, owner of Whitewood Transport. “Being able to deliver this special gift to the nation safely is a great reflection of the vision and mission of Whitewood. One of our company values is to respect and support the community through gifts and service, and I can’t think of a better way for Whitewood to honor this value.”
The Kenworth T680 Advantage used to haul the tree will include a distinctive decal design featuring the Kootenai National Forest seal, a brightly lit and colorfully adorned Capitol Christmas Tree, and the U.S. Capitol beneath a starry sky with the words, “Big Sky. Big Tree. Big Journey.”
The fully loaded Kenworth T680 Advantage features a powertrain consisting of the Paccar MX-13 engine rated at 455 horsepower and 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque, new Paccar 12-speed automated transmission, and Paccar 40,000-pound tandem rear axle. The T680’s specifications also include Kenworth’s TruckTech+ remote diagnostics, predictive cruise control, idle management system, driver performance center, and premium GT703 seats in addition to high-intensity discharge headlamps, a Bendix Wingman Fusion driver assistance system, and tire-pressure monitoring system.
“The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a true American tradition. It’s an honor for Kenworth to help deliver the ‘The People’s Tree’ for the fourth consecutive year,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “The T680 Advantage features the Paccar Powertrain, provides a very comfortable work environment for this year’s tour driver, and sports eye-catching graphics that thousands of people will see on the road and at the tour stops.”
For more information, including a complete tour schedule, visit the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree website.