Who sanctions competitions?

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Over the past few years I've drifted away from the TCC events. Now, when I read about a Comp here or there I wonder what's going on

Back in my early history there was only the ISA Jamboree which morphed into the ITCC reflecting the worldwide profession. Now ISA has other spin-offs that I can't figure out

Charlotte started their own Comp. When I lived in the SE USA I participated as often as I could and enjoyed every minute. The Comp seemed to be more reflective of the Monday to Friday work than the itcc style comps that look, to me, like a weekend event

This weekend the North American Open Masters is happening, right? How does this fall into the spectrum of Comps?

Help bring me up to speed


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Hey Tom, the north American ITCC grew out of the concern that with so many ISA chapters in the US and Canada there needed to be an event encompassing North America. The event was born in 2011 at the ISA southern chapter/ utility arborist combined conference in Savannah GA. That was the year that ISA went to Australia for its conference and many utility folks just couldn't justify sending their people. NAITCC is an ISA sanctioned event. The Savannah event was a bit confusing as it was also the Southern Chapter event as well. After that they separated to a standard alone event.


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North American Open Masters - 2017 - Wichita, KS; Sponsored by Greenleaf Safety Training (9/29/17 - 10/1/17)
"NAOM is a modern tree climbing competition to demonstrate safe work practices within arboriculture."
(I think Chris Coates is involved in the event ???)

"Geezers TCC" - Windermere, FL - Town Hall - Scheduled in January on "Arbor Day" every year.
Climbers are "40 years old & up"; "role reversal" encourages younger climbers to participate as judges, etc. Not-ISA sanctioned.

"The Charlotte TCC" - Sponsored by the Charlotte Arborist Assoc.; in NC; is a specifically advertised as a "non-ISA" event.

Tree-Jam-Camp - Camp Cavell - 3335 Lakeshore Rd, Lexington, MI 48450 - Sponsored by Bartlett Arborist Supply, was originally organized for several years by Jake & Autumn Carufel. This is a very family friendly camping & climbing event. e.g. Zip lines, kids climb, "throw-ball-horseshoes", etc.
Climbing events have included, European style "3ATC", etc.
I believe Jake has since moved on from Bartlett. I'm not sure what the future is.

Jambo (originally called Jamboree) - Indianapolis, IN; started in 2014. - Originally sponsored by Luke Dunlevy & TreeStuff.com. Organized by Nick Bonner, et al. Competition events change some every year (i.e. random group teams of 6, 2-man teams, ninja & obstacle courses, etc.) Now just called Jambo.
Jambo 4, in 2017, had ~ 60 climbers over 3 days !

TreeStuff "King-of-the-Canopy", etc.
Competitions sponsored TreeStuff.com in various locations.

Red Bull Branched Out Tree Climbing event - [13 - 15 Mayall Street, Balranald, NSW, Australia (on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River)] - this new event is sponsored by Red Bull; and will reportedly, eventually be televised.
Registration is open to 100 climbers !

Other NON-ISA events ?

The "3ATC" rules in Europe are the only other uniform code that I am aware of.
(That doesn't mean much ! ;-) )
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I believe there are also some "Utility" based comp's (Michigan used to have a separate "Utility Comp" run at the same time as the ISA TCC).
Maybe a few Rigging challenges (e.g. Jambo has had 2 at each event the last few years).
Then there is the Stihl Timber Challenge / TimberSports. (that not really a TCC, but I get asked about it a lot)


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I think sanctioned is the wrong word. There is no overriding authority. Events either fall under ISA’s insurance, making the winners elegible for ITCC competition or they do not.



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Staff member
There are other ISA restrictions, perhaps in addition to ISA insurance.
In 2012, the KY TCC decided to allow the Rope Wrench in their competition. (before it was "approved" by ITCC).
The chapter got their own, independent insurance.
The ISA was NOT going to allow the KY Master's winner to compete at ITCC, based on the RW, not the insurance issue.
Finally, the winner (C.P.) was allowed to compete at the ITCC because he had not used a RW in the Prelims or Masters.
So there can be other criteria.
(I think all this is correct)

Again, the 3ATC set of rules (mostly in Europe) standardizes multiple competitions for consistency.
This type of climbing competition, allows 3 different levels of climbing experience, to compete. (e.g. novice, etc)
Tree-Jam-Camp used this format at one of the events in 2015.
My info is now several years old. I don't know the current status of these rules / organization.
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Well-Known Member

Gotta love politics! I get your point.

I just get irked at the tacit dividing line often drawn with words like sanction, approved and the like. Not blaming you nor anyone in particular, only venting a bit.

Any well run, safe, professional competition is fine. Why make distinctions, or "worry" about "approval/ sanctioning" and all that?

Get together. Be safe. Promote the professionalism of our industry. Have fun, make friends and learn shit. This are the true "requirements" for a "sanctioned" event.


Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Whatever hang tag is used my intention was to find out how any of the comps are connected and aligned.

Having been involved since the only game in town was the Jamboree there have been many changes. I think for the better too.

The competition on Saturday should look as much like the work order on Monday. Give innovation a chande to be shared. Sometimes too much regulation stifles creativity