Company driver tapped to deliver Capitol Christmas tree

Updated Oct 15, 2017

A company driver for a Montana heavy-haul carrier will deliver this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree to Washington, D.C.

Larry Spiekermeier, who drives for Billings-based Whitewood Transport was selected to drive the special Kenworth T680 Advantage used to haul the tree on a more than 2,000 mile trek from the he Kootenai National Forest to the nation’s capital. He has logged some 1.6-million accident free miles.

Kenworth T680 Advantage will deliver the U.S. Capitol Christmas TreeKenworth T680 Advantage will deliver the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

The 53rd U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be cut in the Montana forest Nov. 8 and laid on a trailer specially designed for the tour. It will then embark on a tour of 15 community celebrations before it reaches its final destination in December. The tour will make 10 stops in Montana before continuing with stops in North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Kentucky.

2016’s Capitol Christmas Tree (Facebook photo)2016’s Capitol Christmas Tree (Facebook photo)

The Kenworth T680 Advantage’s distinctive decal design features the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and the words “Big Sky. Big Tree. Big Journey.” The T680 also includes the logo of Whitewood Transport.

“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. “You can count on Whitewood Transport to deliver this special gift to the nation safely with the support of our friends at Kenworth.”

Kootenai National Forest in MontanaKootenai National Forest in Montana

The fully loaded Kenworth T680 Advantage features the Paccar Powertrain with the MX-13 engine rated at 455-hp 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 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, Bendix Wingman Fusion driver assistance system, and tire-pressure monitoring system.

The 76-inch sleeper is specified with the premium “Driver’s Studio” option package, which includes the Diamond VIT interior, 180-degree swivel passenger seat and rotating table to accommodate two people, drawer-style refrigerator, space for a microwave, premium audio package, and swivel mount for up to a 28-inch flat screen TV. The Driver’s Studio also offers a full-size wardrobe space for hanging clothes, multiple storage drawers, large storage space under the lower bunk, and 8-inch thick, luxury pocket coil mattress.