Supporting the Family (or Families)
Written by: Ryan Rodefer, Certified Arborist WI-0883S
In August 2018, the top 75 climbers from 21 countries from around the world all came together in Columbus, Ohio for The International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC). For us at Wachtel Tree Science, this was a very exciting year because for the first time a Wachtel Arborist competed in the championship. For crew leader Alli Rodefer this was only her third competition ever but she entered it with excitement and nerves of steel. For me personally, I was just as excited because Alli is also my amazingly talented wife.
The ITCC consists of 5 events; Aerial Rescue, Belayed Speed Climb, Open Ascent, Throw Line and Work Climb. The top men and women in these events qualify to compete to win it all in the Master’s Climb, which includes multiple aspects of our job to be completed within 30 min.
As the ITCC drew near, everyone at Wachtel showed their support one way or another. Whether it was with words of encouragement or loaning her gear to help her prepare. Even the Tree and Landscape department managers did their best to schedule her on jobs that would allow her to strengthen her climbing skills.
Finally, the time arrived and I had the pleasure to travel to Columbus with Alli, along with our 16-month old son, Levi. Alli’s first event was Throwline and she was very smooth and methodical. Next, Alli ascended into the tree for the Work Climb event but unfortunately the competition was put on hold due to storms in the area. The next day, Alli started early with the now wet Work Climb and did a spectacular job. She really put on a good show for our son Levi, who would clap and call out every time he spotted her in the tree.
By this time, you could really tell Alli was getting into a rhythm because the last three events could not have gone any better. Proof of that was how Alli immediately started talking about how she would love to have another opportunity to compete at the ITCC next year. Between the unbeatable friendliness and the excitement of watching my wife compete on a world stage I could not agree more. I look forward to cheering on my Rodefer and Wachtel family next year!
For Alli and others in our area who may be interested in the ITCC, it all starts with competing at the Wisconsin Chapter Tree Climbing Competition this year in Pewaukee.