Doug Johnson

Utah man to compete in International Tree Climbing Championship

By Faith Heaton Jolley, | Posted - Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 11:01am

SALT LAKE CITY — After years of scaling trees for a power company, a West Jordan man is now headed to the [International Tree Climbing Championship](http://www.itcc-

Jake Bleazard said he started working for Trees Inc. in 1998 and now works for [Murray City Power.]( NID=1088) He became a tree climbing specialist after having to trim branches near power lines and do city maintenance for several years.

“Murray has seven arborists right now,” Bleazard said. “We all kind of take turns — some of us like to climb more than others. I climb as much as I possibly can. I’ll climb all day every day. I run to the trees so they usually don’t fight me too much about it.”

Bleazard said he first heard about the state tree climbing competition after one of his friends competed in it. He decided to enter and after completing several preliminary events, he won the 20th annual Utah Tree Climbing Competition in Provo on June 6-7.

The challenges ranged from scaling a tree as quickly as possible to simulating a rescue in a tree using a dummy and several ropes. Bleazard beat out the 35 other competitors and won $1,500 to use towards his expenses at the International Tree Climbing Championship in Milwaukee. He said he also won a $600 Stihl chain saw and $600 worth of tree gear from different companies.

Bleazard said his work experience has helped him qualify and prepare for the competition.

“There is a lot of technique to it,” he said. “Besides the rescue, these are skills that you use to get in the tree and do your job.”

The International Society of Arboriculturewill sponsor the International Tree Climbing Championship, which will be held Aug. 2-3. Athletes from 13 countries will compete.

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