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» AA Team Challenge
2008 3ATC

Arb Association Arborist Team Challenge Hosted by Arbjobs.com

Over the last few year Arbjobs.com have supported the ISAís tree climbing championships, after last year we felt we should try something different so late last year I spoke to Nick Eden Director of the Arboricultural Association about running an arborists event at the 2008 AA trade fair. Working together we mapped out a basic structure and I set too to design a competition based on a wider spectrum of skills required within arboriculture. This is not to detract from the high skill level required by the top climbers in the ISAís TCCís I number many of them as good friends and I take my hat off to them all.

I wanted to encourage learning and knowledge through the competition and tried to devise a series of tasks and trials to meet this requirement. I called in a lot of favours from friends in the industry and for our first attempt I donít think we did too bad at all.

I know there has been some criticism from some quarters about not opening this event to everyone. I was never an approved contractor and do understand why some folk are upset by not being included. In some ways I am pleased the challenge has created so much debate as this will hopefully help start some discussions regarding the current approval system. Some constructive ideas have already been posted on Arbtalk regarded this matter but this is for another forum thread.

The weeks leading up to the comp were very fraught with calls and emails bouncing back and fourth tweaking of challenge rules to make them work for our events. Hours writing and re writing risk assessments on scenarios that nobody had seen before, on a site many of us hadnít yet visited and the general chaos that usually goes unnoticed on the day so nothing new! The teams dutifully arrived at the allotted times with all the paperwork required signed in triplicate and after a walk around and briefing on each event we could crack on with what we all came for The Arborist Team Challenge.

All day scores came in putting first one team and then another in to the lead it was clear that this was going to be a close run thing that could go either way for a number of teams. With only eight teams we were able to get through the entire event on the first day allowing us all to let our hair down a little on the Friday night. Final scores were added and re added to ensure they were correct and the winners announced. Nobody had any idea how they had done as some of the trials had to be kept top secret to prevent assistance from visiting arborists. All anyone could go on was the visible events we had all watched during the day. Having scored a fantastic 94 % in the Tree & Fungi white room Ross and Tristan of Devon Tree Services just pipped the Senior team from Ravencroft Arboricultural Services to first place with 483 points. I think its fair to say the two chaps were extremely chuffed to have won as was their boss Andrew Burton who will be receiving the £500 winnings donated by Arbjobs.com.

I had been looking for some suitable trophies and a heap of plate silver plated toot just didnít really do it for me. I had a lucky break when visiting Ireland in May when I met artist Sasha Sykes her fantastic work was perfect and I immediately commissioned three trophies, one for each competitor and one for the boss. Sasha managed to squeeze me in to her schedule to produce some lovely and very individual pieces of work that I hope they with cherish and enjoy. The winners were also presented with some of the new Scorch arborist rope from Yale Cordage and an Arboricultural Association Polo Shirt. If you attended you may have noticed all the trial supporters walking around in promotional T Shirts bearing the challenge tag line ďAre you Arb enough?Ē Everyone who took part in this year challenge now have a commemorative and exclusive shirt that states ďI was Arb enough!Ē they all also received an association mug and a pair of the new highly flexible Stein safety glasses.

The challenge would not have been possible without the very special people who helped and I would really like to thank my friends who pulled out all the stops. In no particular order they are Andrew Cowan from Arborecology who despite only just arriving back from Australia put together a very user friendly little tree and fungi trial. Prompt cards helped the teams to a certain extent but with more cards than samples which were the correct ones? Chalky and his team of merry men from Treeworker Training came all the way over from Norfolk to help set up the Site Safety Trial and had to fight off the H&S inspectors who didnít appear to understand the whole concept that the site was not supposed to be safe! I would also like to thank Rupert for lending me his Van and Chipper for this challenge. Chris Cassidy and Kevin Birchall of Tree Care Ireland and Treeclimber.ie who drove, slept and ferried all the way from Co Carlow, Ireland to run the LOLER type kit check trial. Jess West came with a team of budding young arb students from Moulton College to run the chainsaw challenge and Stihl GB kindly lent
us some saws and tooth less chain to save on plasters. Jo and John from Arbour Venture Training Hampshire who set up and ran a very entertaining work site trial with climber and ground staff needing to communicate and work together to score top points lots of very hammy acting to be seen here, but all good fun. I would also like to thank Kevin Moore of BTS training for volunteering to work as head judge and keep an eye on proceedings Tony Sorrenson who just has a thing for logs, donít ask! And finally my long suffering wife, daughter and Dad who cooked, made tea and got stuck in whenever help was needed. I should also thank Nick, Quentin, Paul, Simon, Kevin, Liam, Guy, Margaret, Zoe and the rest of the team at the Arboricultural Association for all their on going help and support. I love this industry where else would you find such a great bunch of people willing to help each other?

We are already planning next years challenge with some new ideas for trials. If you would like to enter a team please contact me.

Nick Pott
» East of England Climbers and Cutters Competition by Tony Sorensen
Well. I'm done for another year.
Funny really, me judging. I mean, who would let me judge anything

Once again a great weekend. As always, the main aim of this comp is to show off to joe public with the aim of raising the local profile of arborists and climbers. This is real back to basics stuff. If we can show people what real climbing or real chainsaw work looks like, they may think twice when the ubiquitous cowboys rock up with the mcculloch and the stepladder.

As a side benefit - we get to test our talents in a friendly, open and cooperative environment. Oh, and drink too much beer and goad our mates into going on the reverse bungee after a night in the beer tent!

So what were my highlights of the weekend as the head judge??
  • Realising that the event organisers had made a mistake and given me a proper tent, big enough for my landrover!!
  • Nick Potts turning up and happily doing the commentary (cheers mate). Nick's experience on the mike showed in his ability to actually make talking about ropes sound interesting to the layman!
  • Ross Kite, a kiwi working in the big smoke, jumping from green target 3 to target 4 and making it look ridiculously possible (it isn't!)
  • Last years winners faces after watching Ross Kite!! Gutted!
  • Watching Tully King (who's been climbing for 4 months) bust out a redirect and show everyone else how its done.
  • Alex Laver having a laugh (even if he was the only one ha ha ).
  • Andy Campbell doing his traditional karaoke stint in the beer tent - Johnny B Good careful mate, people will think its a regular thing!
  • Pressuring Mr Bullman into doing two climbs (Sorry mate, that's what you get for being too good).
  • Meeting all those new people and seeing the faces behind the usernames!
Congratulations to Daryl Platton for winning the Open. Well earnt mate, all that training paid off! Also to Oli Husar who took home more prizes than he could handle, HUSAR!!! And finally to Tully - what can I say mate, except you're in the open next time!

Many thanks to all the competitors for putting on a good show.

Thanks to my fellow judges; Glen and Jim for trawling through all the gear and running the paperwork, and to Nick for helping me score and for doing the commentary for two days.

Thanks to the comp sponsors; Arbtalk & Arbjobs. Cheers Steve and Nick. And thanks to all the companies that dug deep into their pockets for the prize fund including Martin at MJ Tree Services, Rob at R Bell, Spider & Kev at Rouses, and many more (apologies if I've forgotten anyone).

Thanks to all those who helped Andy out on the Cutting Side as well; Alex, Andy, Colin, Woody and many more.

Finally a HUGE thank-you to Chalky & Gillian for organising and managing the whole thing. Good job sir.

Discuss the event at http://arbtalk.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=1963
» Capel Manor by Laura Diggins(event organiser)

What can I say except that this year's Celebration of Trees, sponsored by Husqvarna, was a huge success and definitely surpassed my expectations - we were even blessed with glorious weather!

Thank you to our sponsor Husqvarna for helping to make this year's show possible and thanks to all of our exhibitors for taking the time to join us. I saw some great displays on my travels around the show field and some unique ways of attracting people to your stands through competitions - although I still can't believe I fell off the rolling wall after about 40 seconds!! Shame on me!

For those of you that visited the show I hope you found it beneficial and managed to enjoy yourself while you were here trying out the archery and other activities. I saw many of you leaving with arms full of purchases so can only assume you found what you were looking for.

We saw bumper numbers in terms of vistors to the show this year with 880 people on Friday and over 1300 people on Saturday; a 44% increase on last year's numbers which is a fantastic result and to give you an idea of the trade:general public split we had approx 68% trade.

The ISA's Student Tree Climbing Competition, sponsored by Treeworker, was once again a huge success and congratulations to the winner Tom Bunday. You can click on the following link to see the results in full: http://www.isa-arboriculture.org/content/cm000112.htm

A huge thanks has to go to Venables for being my knights in shining armour. My fears about the soft ground came to reality as a few heavy vehicles got stuck in the mud but thanks to their 'wonderful winch' they were free in seconds.

A few pics have been uploaded onto our website, click on the following link
http://www.capelmedia.co.uk/gallery/comments.asp?id=118 to view and you can also take a look at the shots taken by Venables by clicking here:

Watch this space for news of next year's dates and what we have planned for 2009.
Thanks again everyone and I look forward to seeing you all next year.

» Charity Raffle
Christmas 2007 saw the biggest competition hosted by Arbtalk to date. With the help of 15 different sponsors from various sectors within the industry donating a wide variety of prizes we managed to raise a total of £1500 for The Childrens Trust through the sale of rafle tickets. We thank all those who took part and hope next christmas's event will be even more successful.
James Gadd pictured below being presented with his Laptop by Alex Whyte of Timberwolf.

If you would like to help further with Arbtalk's chosen charity, you can donate at anytime by means of The Childrens Trust's banner located at the bottom left of the homepage.

Thank you
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