Area Tree Climbers Slated to Compete in Plano This Weekend
Published May 21, 2010 By THE WYLIE NEWS
The annual Tree Climbing Championship will be held Friday and Saturday, May 21 and 22, at Bob Woodruff Park in Plano.
According to Mike Walterscheidt of the Texas Chapter of International Society of Arboriculture, the event is “an amazing exposition of physical and mental skills necessary in the profession of arboriculture.”
The two-day competition is sponsored annually by the Texas chapter to determine who will represent the state at the International Championship in Chicago in July. Approximately 30 tree-care professionals, including Wylie’s Steve Houser, will swing through the treetops – sometimes as high as 80 feet in the air – competing in several events testing their strength, agility, balance and “tree smarts.”
Events include a timed 50-foot climb up a rope and aerial rescue, in which a climber must rescue a worker 30 feet up who has sustained an “injury” from a live wire or chainsaw.
Top finishers compete in a final round for the title of state champion and the Houser Cup, named after Houser, whom Walterscheidt called an arboricultural philanthropist.
Spectators will also have the opportunity to see 275-year-old ash, some 350-year-old pecan trees and “one bur oak estimated to be more than 500 years old; in other words, a seedling not too long after Columbus showed up,” Walterscheidt said.
The event is free and open to the public. “It’s a way for the best of the best to get together and celebrate a shared passion with a tough, head-to-head competition,” said Nevic Donnely, event co-chair. “But it’s also a great way for the public to learn about the demands of the profession and some of the lesser-known skill sets necessary to take better care of the trees in our yards, parks, and forests.”