Billings-based carrier will transport the People’s Tree from Montana to Washington D.C.
Billings, Mont., October 25, 2017 — When Santa was looking for a sleigh worthy of hauling one of his most special Christmas trees, years of being on his “Nice List” paid off for Whitewood Transport of Billings, MT. The company was selected to transport the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree due to their excellent reputation in Montana’s trucking industry, according to Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors, a non-profit organization that assists the U.S. Forest Service with coordinating the annual tour.
Whitewood Transport is a recent multiple-year recipient of the Motor Carrier of the Year, including the 2016 award, from the Motor Carriers of Montana. “When we starting searching for the company to be entrusted with transporting the People’s Tree, we heard from several sources that we needed to get in touch with Whitewood Transport,” Ward said. “After traveling to Montana and meeting personally with Mike, Brad and members of the Whitewood team, it quickly became clear that they really understand the
magnitude of this undertaking. The pride and honor that they displayed in being considered for this important task was a clear and immediate indication that Whitewood was who we should select. Since being chosen to transport this year’s trees to the Capitol, Whitewood has exceeding our expectations.”
“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.,” says 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.”
Whitewood Transport was also chosen to haul the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree based on the reputation their drivers have in the trucking industry. Larry Spiekermeier, who has 1.6-million accident free miles with the company, was selected to make the drive from the Kootenai National Forest in northwest Montana on a special Kenworth T680 Advantage, which will haul a trailer specially designed for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour. The Kenworth T680 Advantage’s distinctive decal design features the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree – Kootenai National Forest seal, brightly lit and colorfully adorned Christmas Tree, and the U.S. Capitol beneath a starry sky with the words “Big Sky. Big Tree. Big Journey.” The tour will make twenty stops in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Kentucky before arriving at the Capitol, including a stop near Spiekermeier’s hometown of Fargo, ND, in Grand Forks.
Whitewood will have two trucks making the trip: the truck with the People’s Tree driven by Speikermeier and a second truck with 70 smaller trees eight pallets of Made in Montana ornaments donated by several communities and sponsors of the tour. The smaller trees will be installed in various rooms at the Capitol.
Spiekermeier was named Motor Carriers of Montana “Driver of the Year” in 2009 and 2015 and has over 1.6 million accident-free miles behind the wheel for Whitewood Transport. Hauling specialized equipment with a payload of 100,000 to 130,000 pounds is second nature for him. Spiekermeier’s career in trucking began in his early twenties when he hauled cement, produce, hot oil and logs to pay for college. Spiekermeier soon realized he could make a great living and enjoy the open road as a driver. Spiekermeier has been a valuable member of the Whitewood team of Owner Operators for almost 20 years. His knowledge of equipment, loading and transport, and his experience with specialty oversize and overweight commodities set Spiekermeier apart in the trucking industry. During his career with Whitewood Transport, he has truly been an asset, friend, and mentor to all he works with. “Larry is easy to get along with and he deals with problems professionally,” says dispatcher Ray Arlint.
Spiekermeier and his wife Mary Ann have three grown children; Mandy, Ryan, and Cody. They reside in a beautiful home overlooking the river in Plains, MT, and enjoy working in their yard and admiring the wild turkeys, deer, and black bear that frequently visit them. Mary Ann will ride along with Larry on the first 900 miles of the tree’s journey to the Capitol. At each stop, Spiekermeier and his road crew will visit with those attending the event about this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Whitewood Transport and Spiekermeier have also got a few surprises to hand out to the kids at each stop. Whitewood is supporting the tour in many ways, including posts on social media encouraging people to come and “Look for Larry” at each stop.
Visit www.WhitewoodChristmas2017.com for more information on the tree and Whitewood’s journey to the Capitol.
Listen to Whitewood Transport’s Owner, Mike Wilson, as he discusses Whitewood Transport as a company and their role in transporting the Capitol’s Christmas tree. Sirius Radio Interview