Arborists put work skills to use in tree climbing competition at North Park in McCandless
By Bill Vidonic
Published: Saturday, May 4, 2013, 8:25 p.m.
Even though they spend more than seven hours each day dangling from a tree as part of their jobs, that's exactly where more than 30 arborists found themselves Saturday, perched in branches high above North Park in McCandless.
“It's a good time,” said Tom Hollowniczky, 48, of Independence, Beaver County, as he competed in the Western Tree Climbing Championship, hosted by the Penn-Del Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. “It keeps you healthy. I guess I just like hard work.”
Though there was a lot of good-natured ribbing and competitiveness among the participants, they said the event helped build camaraderie and allowed them to learn some new techniques and skills from their fellow tree care specialists.
Among the activities, the men scrambled up trees to ring a bell, hoisted themselves up ropes to clang another bell about 50 feet in the air, and pretended they had to rescue an unconscious man dangling in a tree. For that “rescue,” competitors earned points for speed and style points if they reassured the “victim” as they were preparing to lower themselves to the ground.
“I'm coming, buddy! I'll get you down! The ambulance is on the way!” yelled Terry Bohner, 27, of South Park, an employee of Davey Tree Service in the South Hills.
“I haven't ever had to rescue someone like that, and I hope I never have to,” Bohner said.
But Mick Stabile, 26, of Meadville, in his fourth year of competition, worried more about speed, quickly scrambling amongst the tree branches to rescue the mannequin.
“Just get it done,” Stabile said. “Make it as simple as possible.”
Frank Booths, 32, of Brentwood, was disqualified from one climbing event after a handsaw he had fastened to a tool belt came loose and tumbled to the ground below.
Hollowniczky, a co-worker with Booths at Bartlett Tree Experts in McDonald for more than a year, comforted him by saying, “Frank, that's the first time I've ever seen you drop anything out of a tree.”
The winners of the competition will go on to compete against the International Society of Arboriculture's Eastern Chapter winners in State College on Saturday. Those winners advance to the international competition in July in Toronto.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- One dead, one wounded in shooting at Chartiers party
- Pope Francis inspires incredible optimism
- Patients denied as donor organs discarded
- Film tax credits bill would bump up state budget
- Castle Shannon man accused of crashing way down Pittsburgh street
- Bethel Park man to receive degree from Pitt he earned 64 years ago
- Man found fatally shot in Larimer a mile away from Homewood peace march
- Newsmaker: Rosalind Ross
- South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
- South Fayette mother wants case against bullied son to be dropped
- Obama hopes to replicate CCAC job training efforts across United States