When it comes to holiday cheer, Missoula means business, specifically the business of decking out machines in Christmas lights. The 39 year old tradition started when the store was owned by Long Machinery and has continued under Western States’ care. Everything from Wheel Loaders, Excavators, Single Drum Rollers, to Motor Graders have been decked out in lights. Currently there are two machines being displayed, a 316F and a CB68B Double Drum Roller. Each machine has roughly 400 lights, takes 8-12 employees who donate their time to set up the machines, and takes 2-3 nights to complete.

Over the years this tradition has not only involved dozens of Western States employees, but been seen and loved by the town. Each year the store receives compliments and admiration for the festive display. Lighting the machines is such an institution that although the average Missoulian may not be able to recall where Western States is, once the Christmas light display is mentioned, most immediately know the place. Most traditions don’t last for 40 years and aren’t noticed by an entire town. However, the Missoula team’s dedication to bringing holiday cheer is one that everyone hopes will continue for many years.