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Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Capitol Christmas Tree arrive in Washington, D.C.

December 05, 2012

Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Wayne Allard and their wives pose in front of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

L-R: Ben Nighthorse Campbell and his wife, Linda; Wayne Allard and his wife, Joan.

Motorcyclists and AMA staff greeted former Colorado U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell at the official lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on the evening of Dec. 4, thanking Campbell for promoting riding and for volunteering to transport the tree from Colorado to Washington, D.C.

Campbell, a member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, says he appreciated the support he received from motorcyclists as he drove a Mack truck for weeks hauling the tree. The AMA, a nonprofit sponsor of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree project, encouraged motorcyclists to greet the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer at stops during his trek. 

“It was a long, hard drive on the road 10 to 12 hours for 21 days covering well over 5,000 miles through Colorado and across the nation,” Campbell said.

He also noted that motorcyclists are civic minded and do much for their communities.

“Motorcyclists do not get the credit they deserve for the time they spend supporting their communities through volunteer activities,” he said.

Wayne Allard, also a former U.S. senator representing Colorado and now AMA vice president for government relations, praised Campbell as a great American and great representative of motorcyclists.

“We are very proud that an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer generously donated his time and effort to transport the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for the nation to enjoy,” Allard said.  

In 2012, Colorado wildfires burned more than 100,000 acres and destroyed more than 600 homes. Two of those fires are still burning. The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree project is helping restore the burned national forest, state and private land. Funds raised through the project will help with reseeding, stabilizing stream banks and planting trees.

Choose Outdoors, a national nonprofit coalition for outdoor recreation, coordinated the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tour with the White River National Forest, where the 73-foot-tall Colorado Engleman spruce tree was harvested.

Campbells journey began in Meeker, Colo. On the way to Washington, D.C., the tree stopped in cities and towns in Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The custom-decorated Mack truck used to haul the tree was fitted with a special cradle to support the tree’s branches.

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