US Capitol Christmas Tree News

Kenworth W990 Features Special Design for 55th U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour

Thursday, October 31, 2019

A special Kenworth W990, sporting a dynamic graphics wrap, will transport the 55th U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Nov. 6 tree-cutting ceremony in Carson National Forest in New Mexico to the tree-lighting ceremony in early December on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

“When we were contacted to see if we would be interested in transporting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, we were honored to even be considered,” said Shane Phipps, safety director for Wilbanks Trucking Services. “It didn’t take us long to say ‘yes.’ Everyone here is very excited about taking part in moving this special tree. While we’re a company that specializes in heavy haul, we’re also very experienced in moving oversized loads – and the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is just that. Moving the tree will be unique for us, but we’re more than capable. We’ll even be using our own multiple cranes to lift the tree onto the back of the trailer.”

Wilbanks employees Josh Garcia, Brum Stephens, and Josh Rice were nominated by their peers and selected by company leadership to drive the special Kenworth W990. “They’re excited not only for the tour, but for being able to drive the newest Kenworth,” he said. “We run close to 100 trucks in our operation, including several Kenworths, but the W990 is new, so our guys can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”

For the sixth consecutive year, a Kenworth truck will deliver “The People’s Tree.”

“Over the years, we’ve heard how special this trip is for the trucking company making the delivery, and how meaningful the tour is for adults and kids alike when the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree makes its way through all the towns to Washington, D.C.,” said Laura Bloch, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is an important American tradition. The tour brings American pride to all those involved, and to all those who see the special tree traveling across America. We’re especially excited that the Kenworth W990 will again transport the tree.”

The W990, which is equipped with a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper, also features the PACCAR Powertrain with the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455-hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque, PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission, and PACCAR 40K tandem rear axles. The truck is also specified with the W990 Limited Edition interior, premium Kenworth GT703 seats and audio system, Kenworth Nav+HD, predictive cruise control, 1800W inverter, 180-degree swivel passenger seat, and Kenworth TruckTech+® Remote Diagnostics.


U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to be Harvested from Carson National Forest Nov. 6, 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

After nearly a year of planning, the time has come to harvest the 2019 United States Capitol Christmas Tree — a 60-foot blue spruce — from the Carson National Forest. USDA Forest Service is hosting two public events Wednesday, Nov. 6, in partnership with the Town of Red River and project sponsors, so New Mexicans can both witness and celebrate this important moment in the yearlong campaign.

Cutting Ceremony (Carson National Forest, meet at Red River Conference Center)
The cutting ceremony will take place at 9:00 a.m. within the Carson National Forest and include brief remarks by representatives from the Forest Service, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Choose Outdoors, New Mexico Tourism, local elected officials, and project partners. 

On Nov. 6, shuttles will bring attendees to and from the cutting, as parking is not available at the site. Those wishing to attend the cutting will meet at the Red River Conference Center and shuttles will run continuously starting at 7:30 a.m, with the cutting ceremony beginning at 9:00 a.m. Refreshments and bathroom facilities will be available. Once the tree is cut, it will be lifted by cranes provided by Wilbanks Trucking Services, LLC, and secured to a trailer provided by Hale Trailer before being transported out of the forest by a Kenworth W990. Attendees may remain and watch as the tree is loaded onto the trailer up until 11:30 a.m., when the last shuttle will depart to return to the Red River Conference Center. Attendees are advised that the event is outside and to dress appropriately for inclement weather, including rain or snow.

A live stream of the cutting will be available online on Facebook via CarsonNF and USCapitolChristmasTree will be shown at the Red River Conference Center and the Red River Brewery.

Community Celebration (Red River Conference Center, 101 River St, Red River, NM) 
The community celebration at the Red River Conference Center will take place from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. The tree will be on display for the first hour, along with celebrations for Smokey Bear’s 75th anniversary and a Christmas cookie party. Children should bring their Christmas wish lists, as Santa Claus will be in attendance.

Both events are free and open to the public, and registration is not required. We hope you can join us in person or online! 

Announcing the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

(En Espagnol) The Carson National Forest, in partnership with the New Mexico Tourism Department and nonprofit organization Choose Outdoors, will bring the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from New Mexico to Washington, D.C. by way of a cross-country tour involving more than 25 communities along the way. Well-wishers will have a chance to sign banners on the sides of the truck, learn more about the Carson National Forest and the great state of New Mexico, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more.

Beginning Nov.11, the tree’s journey can be tracked in real time online at hosted in partnership with sponsor Spireon, Inc. Check out the schedule and visit the tree in a community near you!

Monday, Nov. 11
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Carson National Forest Eagle Rock Lake (State Route 38, Questa, NM) 
11: 30 a.m. – 12: 30 p.m. Eagle Nest Town Hall (151 North Willow Creek Drive, Eagle Nest, NM) 
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Veteran’s Memorial (34 Country Club Road, Angel Fire, NM) 
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Taos City Hall (120 Civic Plaza Dr., Taos, NM)

Tuesday, Nov. 12
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Taos Pueblo (120 Veterans Highway, Taos, NM)
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Española Valley Chamber of Commerce (101 Calle de las Españolas #F, Española, NM)
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Chama Town Hall (2994 4th Street, Chama, NM)
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Jicarilla Apache Supermarket Parking Lot (13603 US-64, Dulce, NM)

Wednesday, Nov 13
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Shiprock High School (US-64, Shiprock, NM)
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Bloomfield Elementary School (200 W Sycamore Ave, Bloomfield, NM)
1:30 – 2:15 p.m. St. Francis Assisi Park (State Highway 126, Cuba, NM)
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Santa Fe Plaza (105 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM)

Thursday, Nov. 14
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Forest Service Albuquerque Service Center (4000 Masthead St NE, Albuquerque, NM)
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Civic Plaza (401 2nd St NW, Albuquerque, NM)
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Gila National Forest, Black Range Ranger District (1804 North Date, Truth or Consequences, NM)

Friday, Nov. 15
8:00 - 8:30 a.m. Smokey Bear Historical Park (118 West Smokey Bear Blvd, Capitan, NM 88316)
10:00. – 11:00 a.m. Mescalero Community Center & Tribal Offices (101 Central Mescalero Ave, Mescalero, NM)
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Otero County Fair Grounds (401 Fairgrounds Rd Alamogordo, NM)
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. El Paso Convention Center (1 Civic Center Plaza, El Paso, TX)

Saturday, Nov. 16: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. The Alamo (300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX)

Sunday, Nov 17
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blue Skies Air Force Village (5100 John D Ryan Blvd, San Antonio, TX)
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Downtown Plaza (710 S Main St Plaza, Georgetown, TX)

Monday, Nov. 18
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Downtown Main Street (113 S 1st St, Lufkin, TX)
5:00 – 7:00 pm. Monroe Civic Center (401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expwy, Monroe, LA)

Wednesday, Nov. 20
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Brent Elementary School (160 4th St, Brent, AL)
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Bass Pro Shops (5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Lawrenceville, GA)

Thursday, Nov. 21
11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Federal Building Public Park (900 Georgia Avenue Chattanooga, TN)
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Titans Football Stadium (1 Titans Way, Nashville, TN), in partnership with Truckload Carriers Association

Friday, Nov. 22: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Chilhowee Park (3301 E Magnolia Ave, Knoxville, TN)

Saturday, Nov. 23: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. White's Travel Center (2440 Raphine Road, I-81/I-64 at Exit 205, Raphine, VA), in partnership with TravelCenters of America

Sunday, Nov. 24: Delivery to Joint Base Andrews (1345 Arkansas Rd, Joint Base Andrews, MD)

*Subject to change. Monitor website for the latest updates.

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is made possible with cash and in-kind contributions from companies large and small as well as volunteers locally and across America, who provide vital support of time and resources. Sponsors include Kenworth Truck Company, Wilbanks Trucking Services, LLC, Spireon, Inc., Elvis Duran & Alex Carr, Hale Trailer, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Alaska Airlines, Meritor, Public Service Company of New Mexico, TravelCenters of America, Truckload Carriers Association, Great West Casualty Company, Taos County, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, National Forest Foundation, Christmas Tree Promotion Board, National Press Club and LexisNexis VitalChek Network, Inc.