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Ben Nighthorse Campbell plays Santa with U.S. Capitol Christmas tree

The country is swamped by devastation from Hurricane Sandy and the storm of the 2012 election, but it's still beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And who's the Santa hauling the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree -- -- "America's gift to the nation" -- to Washington, D.C.? Former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

The tree that will grace the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol, a 73-foot Engelmann Spruce currently growing in the White River National Forest, will be harvested today and then taken to Meeker, forty miles away, for a holiday celebration. Tomorrow, it will be wrapped, loaded, and head out on a 28-city tour, with several stops in Colorado before the tree finally reaches the nation's capitol on November 26.

And Nighthorse Campbell, who was usually on a motorcycle when he amused D.C. with his antics, will be behind the wheel of the custom-decorated Mack Pinnacle model truck crossing the country.

Denverites will get a chance to see this spectacle from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, November 11 at the Midtown development, 67th Avenue and Pecos Street. (Find the full schedule here)

Eager for another early sign that Christmas is around the corner? Check out this sight snapped from the South Platte River Bike Path on Halloween:

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Learn more about Ben Nighthorse Campbell in our 1996 cover story "Athlete, Artist, Indian Chief."

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