LISLE, Ill. (CBS) — An arborist from the Morton Arboretum in Lisle is getting ready to compete this weekend in the International Tree Climbing Championship in Portland, Ore.
WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports 32-year-old Beau Nagan, of Westchester, climbs trees for a living every day to take care of trees at the Arboretum, but it’s also his passion, so competing in the International Tree Climbing Championship is like his own personal Olympics.
He said he trains for the competition year-round.
“It’s extremely physically demanding, in that you’re lifting your entire body weight up boards of, sometimes – well, in Illinois we usually don’t get much higher than about 80 feet – but there’s some 100-foot cottonwoods out there,” he said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
Competitions include speed trials, and a competition in which contestants try to safely rescue a 180-pound dummy stranded in a tree as quickly as they can.
“Everything we do is fairly high risk, because we’re moving a lot of large amounts of weight from the air to the ground, and we’re oftentimes lowering it down with ropes, so there’s a lot of rigging involved, a lot of physics involved.”
Among other tree climbers from around the world, Nagan will compete against his own brother, Cormac, who represents North Carolina in the competition.
“I learned almost everything I know about it from him, even though he’s my younger brother. I actually hope he wins, to be honest with you. He’s been working at it a lot longer than me,” Nagan said.
Tree-climbing is in their blood. Their father owns a landscaping business, and Nagan said his 2-year-old daughter already says she wants a chainsaw, just like her daddy has.