Professional Tree Climbers Prepare to Take on the Trees at the 2016 International Tree Climbing Championship in Texas

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The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) marks 40 years of tree climbing competition where men and women contend for world champion titles at Brackenridge Park in San Antonio

“The competition attracts the best of the best from around the world and people are drawn to the event ,” says Jim Skiera, executive director of ISA. “Those who have been coming for years call it ‘edutainment’, learning while having a good time."

More than 60 of the world’s best male and female professional tree climbers representing 18 countries will compete for the title of world champion at the International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC) on April 2 and 3 at Brackenridge Park in San Antonio.

The free event–organized by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and presented by The Davey Tree Expert Company– is open to the public to showcase arborists in action and help educate the community about professional tree work. The competition provides an educational opportunity for tree climbing arborists to demonstrate and learn new climbing techniques, interact with other competitors, and provide public exposure for the profession. Rules for the competition follow industry safety standards and help train climbers to work more safely when performing professional tree work.

“Though the tree climbing championship has a competitive spirit, it is an educational event that focuses on safety,” says Jim Skiera, executive director of ISA. This is the 40th Anniversary of the ITCC which began in 1976. “The competition attracts the best of the best from around the world and people are drawn to the event to watch and learn. Those who have been coming for years call it ‘edutainment’, learning while having a good time with family and friends.”

Sandra Reid, vice president of corporate communications and strategic planning for Davey Tree, said Davey is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the ITCC. “The elite climbers who take part in ITCC events remind everyone of the value of dedicated arborists working safely and using proper techniques,” she said. “We appreciate the ISA’s commitment to ensuring a safe and innovative means of practicing arboriculture.”

A simultaneous Arbor Fair and Expo provides additional opportunities for the public to learn about the benefits of trees through educational display and interactive activities for children and adults. It is important for the public to understand that safe proper tree care requires knowledge, training, and expertise which is why most tree care tasks should only be performed by professionals.

“ISA provides training and education on safe work practices for tree care providers; especially for those working aloft,” adds Skiera. “The ITCC along with the Arbor Fair helps provide the public with a better understanding of the skills it takes to properly climb and care for trees.”

The ITCC will kick off on Saturday, April 2 with five preliminary events where competitors are scored on their ability to professionally and safely maneuver in a tree while performing work-related tasks. The male and female competitors with the highest scores during the preliminary events move on to the Masters’ Challenge championship round, sponsored by Husqvarna, on Sunday, April 3.

The Arbor Fair and Expo will run on Saturday and Sunday during the ITCC. This event provides an opportunity for ISA and local groups to interact with the public to explain the benefits of trees and the importance of proper care. In addition to educational booths and displays, the Arbor Fair includes a fun tree climb, a limb walk, musical entertainment and much more. To learn more about the ITCC and the schedule of activities visit

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Julie Gaier
The Ritterbusch Group
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