U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

For more than 50 years, a Christmas tree has graced the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. The Willamette National Forest in partnership with nonprofit Choose Outdoors, will bring this special gift from Springfield, Oregon to Washington, D.C. for the 2018 season, involving more than 25 communities along the way. TCA has proudly sponsored the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree since 2012.

TCA member Central Oregon Truck Company will be hauling the 2018 tree.

2018 TCA Whistle Stops

Show your support! Make plans to attend the following:

November 20
Hosted by Meritor and MHC Kenworth
3-5 p.m.
Union Station
30 W Pershing Rd.
Kansas City, Missouri 64108

November 23
Hosted by Searcy Specialized (Chairman Doran)
2-6 p.m.
The District (Harrison Pavilion)
101 Harrison Ave.
Harrison, Ohio 45030

Can’t attend this week’s whistle stops? Tune in to TCA’s Facebook page to see footage live from the event.

See if the tree will be in your community.

Interested in hosting an event in 2019? View a comprehensive Whistle Stop Planning Guide created by Garner Trucking is available to help you get started.

Track the Tree

Thanks to TCA member, SkyBitz, TracktheTree.com offers real-time tracking of the Capital Christmas Tree as it travels from the Willamette National Forest in Oregon to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.

View Images

Interested in seeing photos of “The People’s Tree” as it makes its trek across the nation?

Historic Whistle Stops

TCA has worked alongside several major players in the trucking industry to coordinate the logistics of bringing the tree to many communities along its route to Washington, DC.

In 2015, Garner Trucking, Inc. hosted a whistle stop in Findlay, Ohio on November 16, 2015. During TCA’s 78th Annual Convention in 2016 Garner was honored with “Ultimate Whistle Stop” award.

In 2017, TCA members Britton Transport (Grand Forks, North Dakota) and Meritor/MHC Kenworth (Kansas City, Missouri) hosted whistle stops in mid-November.

‘2017 Whistle Stop Awards’ Presented to Britton Transport and Meritor, Inc.
3/25/2018
Kissimmee, Florida:
Britton Transport of Grand Forks, North Dakota and Meritor, Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri were recognized for their involvement in transporting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree this past holiday season. The “2017 Whistle Stop Awards” were presented at Sunday’s Communications & Image Policy Committee meeting at the Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) 80th Annual Convention in Kissimmee, Florida.
For the last 38 years, a special tree has been harvested from a U.S. national forest and transported across the country to the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Along the way, the tree makes “whistle stops” at local communities and military bases, which allows the public to view it, while also shining a spotlight on the trucking industry that makes it possible to haul the immense tree.
In early-November 2017, an 80-foot Engelmann Spruce was harvested from the Kootenai National Forest in Montana. It then began its 3,000-mile trek through two dozen communities across the country, including the Grand Forks town square, where hundreds of locals came out in freezing temperatures to view the tree, as well as MHC Kenworth in Kansas City, Missouri.
Truckload Carriers Association Receives Appreciation Award For Spreading Recognition of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Project
12/6/2016

Alexandria, Virginia:

Last night, at a reception held prior to the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) was presented with the 2016 Capitol Christmas Tree Appreciation Award.

Bruce Ward, founder and president of Choose Outdoors, the non-profit organization that oversees the tree, bestowed the honor for TCA’s continuing support that has led to widespread recognition of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

According to Ward, “TCA’s enthusiasm for this nearly 50-year American tradition has helped us elevate the importance of the trucking industry in a very high-profile project that focuses on the importance of our national forests and the Christmas spirit.”

“Because of TCA, we now have increased support by many sectors of the trucking industry, including Kenworth Trucks, Hale Trailers, SkyBitz tracking, Eaton Transmissions, Meritor, Land Line, Permit Wizard, and so many more,” he said.

Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, president and CEO of Garner Transportation Group, Findlay, Ohio, and a co-chair of TCA’s Communications & Image Policy Committee, accepted the award. She was accompanied by committee member Brenda Dittmer, vice president of Weinrich Truck Line Inc. of Hinton, Iowa, and by TCA staff members John Lyboldt, Debbie Sparks, Marli Hall, and Ron Goode.

Today, Brumbaugh, Dittmer, and the TCA staff will be participating in a full day of tree-related activities: a breakfast hosted by the Idaho State Society, a U.S. Forest Service Chief’s reception, the actual tree lighting, and finally a Congressional reception with U.S. Senator from Idaho Mike Crapo.

Over the years, TCA has done many things to promote the transportation of “The People’s Tree” from its originating forest to its final destination on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Previous initiatives have included hosting “whistle stops” at high-profile public venues like a Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans football game and sponsoring the post-tree-lighting reception. It has also worked with the state trucking associations of Minnesota, Alaska, and Idaho when that year’s tree originated from their state.

The Capitol Christmas Tree has been a tradition at the U.S. Capitol since 1964. At 5 p.m. ET tonight, it will be lit by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, with Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, AIA, LEED AP, serving as master of ceremonies. After tonight, the tree will be lit from dusk until 11 p.m. each evening throughout the holiday season. The full display includes smaller companion trees and 6,000 ornaments made by schoolchildren from Idaho.

“Ultimate Whistle Stop” Award Presented to Sherri Garner Brumbaugh
3/6/2016

Las Vegas, Nevada:

Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, president and CEO of Garner Transportation Group, Findlay, Ohio, has earned special recognition for her involvement with transporting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree this past holiday season. The “Choose Outdoors Leadership Award” was presented to her at the board meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), which has been a proud partner of the tree since 2012.

Bruce Ward, founder and president of Choose Outdoors, the non-profit organization that assists the U.S. Forest Service in overseeing the tree, made the presentation during TCA’s Annual Convention at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For the last 36 years, a special tree has been harvested from a U.S. national forest and transported across the country to the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Along the way, the tree makes “whistle stops” at local communities and military bases, which allows the general public to view it, while also shining a spotlight on the trucking industry that makes it possible to haul the immense tree.

Steps taken to create the highly successful event will be compiled into a manual that other trucking companies can emulate  for their own Whistle Stops in support of transporting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Although other Whistle Stops had been hosted by various companies and organizations, Brumbaugh’s event stood out from the others for its outstanding hospitality. The trophy’s inscription said it was for her “amazing coordination of the Ultimate Whistle Stop.”

“On behalf of the entire Tree team, we felt you provided a truly all-star turnout, complete with local dignitaries, the media, and lots of participants,” said Ward. “You got the schools involved and managed to elevate the messages associated with the Capitol Christmas Tree and welcome ceremonies. You did a tremendous job.”

Brumbaugh, who is a long-time member of TCA and co-chair of its Communications & Image Policy Committee, has agreed to write down the steps she took to plan her Whistle Stop, thus creating a manual that other trucking companies can use as a template to plan their own events.

After reading the manual for ideas, trucking companies can select a Whistle Stop this summer for the city/town of their choice and fill out an online application for the right to host it.

“These Whistle Stops really bring out the families and children of America, showing them first-hand the essentiality of trucking,” said John Lyboldt, TCA’s president. “It’s very impressive to see the huge tree specially wrapped and loaded for its long journey. It makes quite an impression on people, so we’re pleased that Sherri did such a good job and has been duly recognized for her hard work.”

Truckload Carriers Association Brings U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to Cleveland Browns Football Game on November 16
11/14/2014

Alexandria, Virginia:

The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree has left the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota and will stop in about 30 communities across the country as it travels by truck on its way to the U.S. Capitol in time for the holidays. As part of the 2,000-mile journey, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has arranged for the tree to stop at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, where locals can view it prior to the Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans football game on November 16, 2014, from 10 am – 1:30 pm Eastern time.

Anyone in the Cleveland vicinity is invited to view “The People’s Tree” — not just fans attending the game. In addition to viewing the enormous 80-foot plus white spruce, participants can sign banners that line the trailer housing the tree and will receive free hot chocolate. The Cleveland Browns’ two mascots, Chomps and Brownie, will also make an appearance.

Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, president and CEO of Garner Transportation Group, Findlay, Ohio, and a co-chair of TCA’s Communications & Image Policy Committee, was one of the driving forces in bringing the tree to the Browns/Texans game. When she first learned that the tree would be coming through her home state, she realized that a high-profile sporting event would be an ideal way to spotlight the way the tree is traveling — by 18-wheeler — and to promote the trucking industry to a large number of people.

“The management of the Cleveland Browns has been very cooperative in helping us publicize the tree’s arrival,” she said. “Information has already been e-mailed to about 100,000 Browns fans, a blurb will appear in the game day program, Facebook posts and Tweets have gone out, and information was also placed on the Browns’ website. The tree is sure to attract a sizeable crowd. We want to promote patriotism and the American spirit to everyone, so the more people who can view The People’s Tree, the better!”

After finishing its cross-country tour, the tree will be placed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. It will be lit by Speaker of the House John Boehner on December 2 at 5 p.m. Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP, will serve as master of ceremonies.