Im­pres­sive per­for­mance

Benalla Ensign - - Motorsport Motorsport - By Geor­gia Smith

For Be­nalla’s Ja­son Ste­wart climb­ing trees is just like tak­ing a walk in the park.

The lo­cal ar­borist re­cently put his skills to the test, com­pet­ing in the Red Bull Branched Out Climb­ing Com­pe­ti­tion in Welling­ton, NSW.

Com­pet­ing against climbers from across the world, Ste­wart fin­ished 18th out of 100, 16 places higher than last year’s com­pe­ti­tion held in Bal­ranald.

The 41-year-old was also the old­est com­peti­tor en­tered in the com­pe­ti­tion by three years, but said he has no in­ten­tion of slow­ing down just yet.

‘‘It was a bit daunt­ing hav­ing so many younger climbers get­ting up there, but I have full re­spect for their skill lev­els and it was great to make the top 20 per cent in the com­pe­ti­tion,’’ Ste­wart said.

‘‘I would like to keep com­pet­ing for the next four or so years and af­ter that would like to take on a judg­ing role and help with the com­pe­ti­tion.’’

Climb­ing trees is noth­ing new for Ste­wart, who works as an ar­borist by day for his lo­cal busi­ness North East Tree Ser­vices.

He said it was the love of what he did that prompted him to start com­pet­ing in climb­ing events three years ago.

‘‘It’s one of those things where the adren­a­line kicks in and you need to form re­spect with the tree and the equip­ment,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s noth­ing like go­ing for a big through the trees.’’

The Red Bull Branched Out Tree Climb­ing Event is swing open to males and fe­males over the age of 16 with at least two years tree climb­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, with the fastest climbers pro­gress­ing through to each stage.

Ste­wart urged any­one who loved climb­ing trees to get in­volved by vis­it­ing the Ar­bori­cul­ture Aus­tralia web­site.

Hard at it: Be­nalla’s Ja­son Ste­wart com­pet­ing in the Red Bull Branched Out Climb­ing Com­pe­ti­tion in Welling­ton, NSW.

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