KIRKLAND, WA… 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.
This year’s theme is “Delivering Enchantment!” On the side of the Kenworth W990 hood, the graphics wrap showcases New Mexico’s state flag, along with Ship Rock, a 7,177 foot-high mountain rock that resembles a 19th century clipper ship. On the door and sleeper, the U.S. Capitol Building is shown with a Christmas tree, with the wording: “From the Land of Enchantment to Enchanting the Nation” written above the graphics. The special tree is a 60-foot Blue Spruce.
The Kenworth W990 is headed from the Seattle area for Artesia, New Mexico, where it will arrive at Wilbanks Trucking Services. The second-generation company, with nearly 200 employees, will use the W990 to transport the tree, beginning Nov. 11, on a 2,000-mile journey to Washington, D.C. with stops at more than 30 community celebrations.
The honor of being selected to haul the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was a pleasant surprise for Wilbanks Trucking, which was nominated thanks to its exceptional reputation in New Mexico.
“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.
For more information, including a complete tour schedule, visit the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree website (www.uscapitolchristmastree.com).
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree harvesting site in Carson National Forest near Red River, New Mexico. On hand and ready for the load was a specially wrapped Kenworth W990 76-inch mid-roof sleeper, along with members from Artesia, New Mexico-based Wilbanks Trucking Service – this year’s transporter of the special tree. The 55th U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree – a 60-foot Blue Spruce – has started on its way to Washington, D.C.
Images are provided courtesy of James Edward Mills.