INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Near the top of the trees at Holliday Park on the northside of Indianapolis, 80 tree care professionals from around the globe are showing off their climbing and rigging skills. JAMBO is the world’s largest tree climbing competition for arborists.
“You can’t be afraid of heights, that’s for sure,” said Canadian arborist Krista Strating. “It’s a totally different world up there. Every once in a while, you look over and there is a bird sitting there. They’re kind of looking at you like, ‘What are you doing up here?’ And you’re looking at them like, ‘Why are you still here?’”
These pros climb and prune and cut down trees for a living.
“Unfortunately, we have a very hazardous profession,” said arborist Archie Autenreith from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “It’s not dangerous. It’s hazardous. How we mitigate those hazards determines whether it’s going to be safe or dangerous for us. Safety is always number one.”
The arborists compete in pairs and teams. The challenges send climbers high into the trees to ring bells hanging from branches. Other contests involving lifting and moving heavy logs with rigging. This is the fourth year for JAMBO, an event created by Indianapolis-based Tree Stuff. an online retailer of tree care equipment.
“I’ve never really worked with any of these guys out in the field, but you come here and instantly we have something in common,” said Starting. “Instantly we mesh. Everybody has said it. Anybody that isn’t even an arborist that comes to these things says there’s something in the atmosphere with tree people that we’re just excited and you can tell that we love it.”
Strating shows her love with a tree tattoo on the inside of her right forearm with five branches. At the foot of the tree is a cross.
“The one branch represents my brother,” said Strating. The other is my dad and mom and then the other two are my sisters. It’s kind of like my family tree, also my faith in the foreground of everything and…