WAXAHACHIE

Tree arborists from around the state gathered in Getzendaner Park over the weekend to put their climbing ability to the test.

The Texas Tree Climbing Championship was held in the park Friday and Saturday.

The Texas chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture hosted the event. The group works to provide continuing education for arborists, tree care research and serves tree care consumers.

Guy LeBlanc, an event official, stated the competition features events that mimicked situations an arborist might face in the field. Arborists work to manage the health of individual trees.

“There are five events here in total today. One of them is called an area rescue. It represents a contestant's ability to rescue an injured worker from a tree safely. We use a 180-pound dummy for that,” LeBlanc said. “There is also what is called a work climb. That tests a contestant’s ability to efficiently work through a tree latterly starting at the top and working downward.”

Some of the other events in the competition included a speed climb, a throwline, and an ascent. In the throwline, competitors had to accurately place a climbing line through two of eight targets set in trees within six minutes.

The ascent event tests a person’s ability to use climbing equipment to reach the treetops and then descend to the ground safely.

Leblanc shared the events are not just about how quickly a person can complete a task. A competitor's final score takes safety and technique into consideration.

Melvin Salas, City of Fort Worth Senior Arborist, stated he enjoys the test that this event gives people.

“It is great. The trees are a lot bigger out here then they were in Austin last year,” Salas said. “They changed the dynamics of each event so that it poses more of a challenge."

Fellow competitor Steve Driskill stated the competition provides a unique opportunity for him to test his skills. In his role as manager with Arbor Masters in Fort Worth, he does not get to climb regularly.

“This is the tree climbing competition of all competitions for Texas. I am competing against a lot of guys who do this every day, and they are amazing at it,” Driskill said. “The trees are awesome, and the location is great.”

For more information about Texas chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture go to the website at www.satexas.com.