Flatbed carrier makes 3,000-mile journey to deliver the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

(PHOTO: Kenworth)

(PHOTO: Kenworth)

Central Oregon Truck Company will wrap-up its cross-country tour hauling the 49th U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree with one last stop at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland this weekend before the tree is dropped off at its final destination.

The Capitol Christmas Tree, dubbed “The People’s Tree,” is a tradition that began in 1964 when Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack (D-MA) placed a live tree on the Capitol lawn. When that tree succumbed to the elements a few years later, the U.S. Forest Service was asked to provide a tree for the lawn. Since then, a different national forest has been chosen to provide the tree each year.

Oregon’s Willamette National Forest was chosen to provide this year’s tree, and Central Oregon Truck Company was tasked with its safe delivery.

“It is an honor to be selected to carry the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and to represent the great state of Oregon during the tree’s journey to Washington D.C.,” Central Oregon Truck Company CEO Rick Williams said. “Hauling this precious cargo and the joy it brings to Americans across the country will certainly be one of the most memorable loads of my lifetime.”

Williams, a former flatbed driver, and Central Oregon Truck Company Vice President of Maintenance Phil Taylor will driver during the tour, along with other drivers from the company, according to a media release.

A new Kenworth W990 and an 80-foot trailer designed for the special load are taking this year’s tree on its journey. Once the tree reaches the Capitol, it will have traveled over 3,000 miles and stopped in 25 communities, according to the release. To pay tribute to the milestone 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail, the 80-foot tall noble fir is following a reverse path of the trail during the tour.

The truck is a equipped with a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper and is adorned with a special graphic depicting a Christmas tree next to the U.S. Capitol, underneath the words, “From the Oregon Trail to the Capitol Steps.” It also features Central Oregon Truck Company’s logo.

“For the fifth consecutive year, a Kenworth truck will deliver ‘The People’s Tree.’ The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is an important American tradition. We’re especially excited that the new Kenworth W990 will transport the Tree,” Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director said. “The W990 features the PACCAR Powertrain and will provide a very comfortable work environment for this year’s tour drivers.”

Central Oregon Truck Company was named the “2018 Best Fleet to Drive For” in the small carrier category by the Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge.