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Tree Climbing Competition

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It's considered the Olympics of tree climbing. The 26th annual New England I-S-A Tree Climbing Competition. Arborist from across New England came to Burlington for a chance to make it to the international level.

Arborists come from all corners of New England to test their skills high in the canopies of the trees.

"It is a really special, special time for us," said Melissa Levangie. She is the Tree Climbing Championship Chair.

Saturday, competitors went head to head in 5 preliminary categories, racing against the clock for a spot in the finals.

"Some are based on speed, some are based on completing targets in a certain way, some are based on obstacle courses if you will," said Melissa Levangie.

One of the most challenging events of the day, rescuing a dummy from a tree in a matter of minutes.

"When I come to a competition I try to focus on the rules and how I can get the most points in the short amount of time that we have which is only 5 minutes to rescue a victim," said Bear Levangie, one of the climbing arborist.

Bear and her twin sister Melissa have been in the tree biz together since 2008.

"She's my best friend in the whole wide world and there are very few twins in arboriculture anyway and women only make up 5 percent so its extra special for me because we're a dynamic duo," said Bear Levangie.

The New england International Society of Arboriculture tree climbing competition out here at Oakledge Park is made up of many experienced climbers... and requires focus.

"Really just thinking about the task at hand, specifically. Especially today your doing one thing at a time so you have 6 minutes to concentrate on this one thing so you go all in," said arborist Mac Swan.

Climbing arborists also take the time to network.

"When we come here its so much fun to see each other because there aren't a lot of professional tree care people," said Melissa Levangie.

And educate spectators on safety.

"You should never climb alone but sometimes in does happen but you should always tell someone when you are in case you get hurt. And always have a phone on you, just call," said Bear Levangie.

One man and one woman will move on to the International competition in Wisconsin in August, the ultimate chance to represent New England's small community of climbing arborists.

This year, nearly 40 competitors came out for a chance at the finals.

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