Capitol Christmas Tree makes a stop in Missoula

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MISSOULA,Mont. - Missoula's Southgate Mall welcomed the Capitol Christmas Tree Wednesday evening.

Hundreds of families turned out for the event to get a first-hand look at the tree from the Kootenai National Forest.

Larry Spiekermeier is an owner-operator of Whitewood Transport in Billings. He's been driving for 49 years, and is honored to be the one to drive the tree to our nation's capital.

"It's awesome. I mean it's for Montana, our country, and not only is it a fine thing to do, I'm making you guys proud," said Spiekermeier.

The 79-foot Engelmann spruce is being hauled in a decorated semi-truck.

Spectators crowded around as the truck pulled up. They signed their names to the trailer where the tree is being stored.

The 76-year-old spruce weighed about 15,000 pounds and is fitted with a special 80-gallon water bladder to keep the tree hydrated.

"I thought it was going to be a lot smaller, but it's pretty big," said Brooklyn Tripp.

Spiekermeier says they will need to be at Andrews Air Force Base on Nov. 26, and the tree will be in place on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 27.

Click here to follow the tree's tour schedule.

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