Jim Thomas stands at the base of the massive Christmas tree in Manton, Mich., on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

Nice all the way around

A full day of scouting trees in northern Michigan paid off. Claremore’s official Christmas tree is a whopping 60 feet tall and 7000 pounds.

“There she is,” City Manager Jim Thomas said when arriving in the field to cut the tree down.

Jim Thomas and the Christmas tree for Claremore, Oklahoma in Manton, Mich., on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

This is the second year Claremore has worked with Dutchman Tree Farms in Manton, Michigan, to get a Christmas tree for West Bend Winterland.

Joe’s Tree Service in Cadillac lifted the tree up with a crane while a worker sliced a chainsaw through the trunk like it was nothing. Artfully, the tree was laid down on the ground.

Workers prepare the tree for baling in Manton, Mich., on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

“You gotta treat it like a baby,” Thomas said. Some branches bend, some snap near the base but the crew works tirelessly to see the tree safely on its nearly 1000 mile journey to Claremore.

From there, the tree was moved slightly, pulled through a baler and tied tight with twine to hold the branches in place for transportation. A tractor had to pull the semi truck through the narrow two-track created for the move.

Workers bale the tree in Manton, Mich., on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

“To get a tree this size, it’s a military operation,” Thomas said.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” said Steve VanderWeide, owner of Dutchman Tree Farms. “He does an amazing job to draw so many people from the community.”

Thomas said the community came together this year to make the event possible, but the stakes were higher. They were expecting more and Thomas only wanted to give it to them.

“When a community of 25,000 comes together to pull off something of this magnitude, it says something about the community,” Thomas said, speaking of how the business community came together again to pay for the transportation from Michigan to Oklahoma.

The tree towers over workers and a truck in Manton, Mich., on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

This will be the largest fresh-cut tree in Oklahoma.

“It’s nice all the way around,” said Thomas.

The tree arrived Wednesday, November 7 and the lighting ceremony is November 26 at 6p.