2021 US Capitol Christmas Tree

We were honored to be selected to transport the official 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from Six Rivers National Forest in northern California, to the west lawn of the US Capitol. This year’s tree, code name “Sugar Bear” is an 84-foot tall specimen. Use our Tree Tracker to see where in the US “Sugar Bear” is, and stay up to date with photos from its tour across America below that. You can also read up on the amazing driver and support staff from our team that will safely get the tree there.




We enlisted some of our best drivers to ensure “Sugar Bear” makes its way safely across the US. Many on this year’s team have experience in over dimensional loads – the most challenging aspect of hauling the tree.

John Schnell

15 years’ experience
Commercial glass driver, formerly poles, from Kennewick, Washington

John’s calling has always been a life on the road. “I know that I am doing what God has planned for my life.” The opportunity to drive a truck came to John at the best time for him to explore the career, and it’s been a divine fit since.

To John, the U.S. Capitol represents We The People – not just our government, but each of our American Dreams. He is honored to be a part of the team bringing a beautiful tree to celebrate Christmas and to symbolically bring hope to the nation’s capital. “Christmas is a time to see the good in each of us and an opportunity to help our neighbors.” John’s favorite Christmas traditions are enjoying Christmas morning breakfast with his family and attending Christmas Eve services to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Bill Brunk

10 years’ experience
Over-the-road driver from Cheney, Washington

Trucking was a natural fit for Bill, who spent his early career in the construction industry. When work slowed during the Great Recession he started driving and has been on the road since.

To Bill, family is the most important part of the Christmas season. He’s looking forward to seeing the U.S. Capitol when the tree arrives in November, but even more than that he’s excited to give his grandkids a chance to see their grandpa do something really cool. Getting together as a family is Bill’s most important Christmas tradition he “always love(s) to see the excitement in my grandkids’ eyes!”

Jeremy Bellinger

21 years’ experience
Commercial glass driver, formerly poles, from Spokane, Washington

Jeremy has always been fascinated by the sights on the road.  As a kid, he enjoyed seeing the country during his family’s cross-country road trips.  He enjoyed it so much, he decided to make it his career by getting into trucking – and it’s been “the best decision I’ve ever made!”

Jeremy is excited to be a part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree team as a chance to do something small for our country. Congenital health conditions precluded him from serving in the military, so he welcomed this opportunity for service. It’s also a big plus to be bringing Christmas Cheer to the nation’s capital. One of his favorite Christmas traditions was watching his own kids opening their presents on Christmas morning when they were young.

Mike English

23 years’ experience
Over-the-road driver from Alturas, California

Mike spent his younger years mining for gold, in the vein of the prospectors who sought a better life in California in the 19th century. When the gold mine he was working for closed, Mike capitalized on a program offered by the State of California to get his commercial driver’s license and haul critical goods – “and the rest is history!”

Mike is honored to participate in hauling the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. It’s a great opportunity to not only be on the road, but to haul cargo that’s “really cool.” As an over-the-road driver, Mike spends a lot of time away from home. So it comes as no surprise that two of his favorite Christmas traditions are spending time at home with his family, enjoying a holiday feast.

Terry Jefferson

37 years’ experience
Local driver from Spokane, Washington

Since he was a kid, Terry loved big rigs. The traditional style trucks always caught his eye on the road. So when he was old enough, he got his commercial driver’s license and has been piloting rigs that have caught other kids’ eyes for over three decades.

Terry welcomes the challenges that hauling the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will bring. It isn’t every day drivers’ skills are challenged by hauling a trailer that is over 100 feet long. Terry also likes the “thought of being involved in something so special and unique.” Terry’s best Christmas memories are the smell of a real tree – which should be in abundance during this year’s tour – and watching his kids open presents.

Robert E. Lee

2 years’ experience
Yard shop manager, former poles driver, from Cheney, Washington

Driving a truck was a natural fit for Robert, who has always liked driving and decided to take his career in a different direction. Robert will bring a unique perspective to the team though, also working as a shop manager he’ll be able to provide support mechanically.

To Robert, “Christmas is the time of year that brings people and families together,” so being a part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour is special to Robert. He is also looking forward to delivering the tree to the west lawn of the Capitol. Robert’s favorite Christmas tradition is a hearty Christmas morning breakfast feast.

Jerry Gardner

38 years’ experience
Poles driver, from Chattaroy, Washington

As far back as he could remember, Jerry has wanted to drive a truck. So it comes as no surprise that now, 38 years later, he’s still driving a truck – the career he’s had his entire life.

Despite his illustrious career, transporting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will “probably be the highlight of the things I have hauled.”  After 38 years and a huge variety of freight, that’s saying something – it’s no wonder he’s honored to be a part of the Christmas tree team.

Support Team

It wouldn’t do to have the nation’s Christmas tree broken down alongside the road, so we’ll have a chase vehicle with a top flight maintenance support crew to keep “Sugar Bear” rolling.

Lonnie Epley

27 years’ experience

Working on heavy machinery is a family tradition for Lonnie. His father brought him into the industry in 1994. Lonnie quickly went from pushing a broom to tuning the equipment complex supply chains rely on.

Lonnie feels “It is a great honor to be selected as part of the team,” continuing the long-standing tradition of bringing the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to Washington, D.C.  As symbolic as the tree is, Lonnie’s favorite Christmas tradition is when his wife and kids get their stockings hung. “This signals to me that the family is together and the Christmas season is here.”

Joel Eggert

8 years’ experience

Joel’s first professional experience with mechanics was during his service in the US Army. After leaving the military he received his certifications to continue his career in heavy machine mechanics.

While serving in Iraq in 2011, Joel and his mechanic expertise participated in many important cargo convoys. But the opportunity to escort the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be a unique, new opportunity, and “this time I won’t have to watch for IED’s.” Joel’s favorite Christmas traditions are going to local parades and lighting ceremonies – of which there will be many during the tree’s tour.

Sean Magee

8 years’ experience

Ever since he was little Sean has been intrigued by how things work. His inquisitiveness is what drove him to learn diesel mechanics. It’s engaging for him to diagnose something that isn’t functioning properly and fix it, keeping our trucks on the road.

Keeping the US Capitol Christmas Tree truck rolling is a “once in a lifetime experience,” and Sean is proud to be a part of the support team that will ride along in case something happens. One tradition Sean looks forward to most is the holiday feast with his family.

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