U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree makes a stop in Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- On Saturday, November 13 the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree made a stop at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

This is the second time the tree has stopped in Springfield.

“It’s even better this year,” Bass Pro Shops General Manager Lee Beasley said. “Especially after everything that’s happened over the last 18 months or so to have it back out here to have people outside and going through the whole program it’s really exciting.”

The stop is part of the tree’s journey from the Six Rivers National Forest in California to the capitol lawn in Washington, D.C. The tree picked out was an 84-foot tall White Fir named “Sugar Bear.” Getting the tree on the semi-trailer wasn’t an easy feet.

“We had to find a steerable blade trailer,” National Lead for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Nancy Henderson said. “The kind that you use for windmill blades.  We billy-goated it up the tree, put the tree on it, took it down and then transferred the tree from one trailer to another. I will tell you I was there the whole time with my heart pounding saying ‘don’t break the tree.'”

“It was a little rainy that day and a little windy,” Brendon Banwell, who helped chopped down the tree said. “We decided to use a chain saw. It didn’t take very long. It was only about four-and-a-half minutes. It was attached to a crane at the top so instead of falling down it was gently raised in the air and put on this trailer.”

Springfield is the 21st stop out of 28 on the list. The tree is set to arrive in Washington D.C. on November 19. But many don’t want the fun to end.

“I would love to do this for a couple more months,” truck driver Jeremy Bellinger said. “It’s so amazing to see all the people that it brings joy to.”

Every year, a new trucking company is selected to deliver the tree. System Transport, from Spokane Washington, was selected for 2021.

“I normally haul stuff longer than this believe it or not,” Bellinger said. “Normally I don’t have this many officers escorting me so this has actually been quite a bit easier because they block the whole roads for me and everything. As a trucker, you don’t get appreciated very much so it’s just nice to have someone that appreciates what I’m doing.”

Bass Pro Shops was anxiously awaiting for the tree to arrive Saturday.

“Personally I was tracking it on the tracker on my cell phone all day today,” Beasley said. “It’s a pretty large truck so we wanted to make sure things went perfect and great for it.”

The tree this year means something different to people.

“It represents the people of America,” Bellinger said. “It’s not about the politics. It’s about representing the people and doing something for the people.”

“Our whole nation has been through so much over the last two years,” Henderson said. “It seems like we spend a great deal of energy fighting with each other. We hope through this one tree we can unite the many peoples.”

You can follow the tree’s journey to the capitol lawn here. https://www.capitoltreetracker.com/

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