When it comes to climbing towers, Kathy Gill can’t be stopped. The same occurs when she gets an idea in her head that will promote safe tower climbing, show off skills, educate and promote the industry in a constructive way…and be fun: a tower rodeo. And why not? The TRx Challenge is located in cowboy-country, in Phoenix, AZ, and she has a “ranch” of towers on which she trains her students. Showing Inside Towers around her campus in a video tour Monday, Gill pointed out her rodeo resources: a 70-foot monopole, a 60-foot lattice tower, 40-foot drop tower and four smaller towers.
All will be put to use in a series of tower climbing challenges set for December 4-5 in Phoenix, in an event called “The TRxChallenge” (TR is for tower rodeo, pardner). Co-sponsored by NATE and Petzl, the industry response and support is coming in hot and heavy.
“We have a major carrier and a major towerco committed as well,” she said. “But it’s too soon to announce them.” The event already has six teams signed up representing different factions of tower climbing: traditional “Towerhands,” a public safety crew from a PA FDP and “Rope Access (SPRAT)” guys.
“There really is a hunger to get back together for something fun and different,” Gill said. “The positive reactions from across the country for the challenge in early December seems to be in everybody’s comfort zone timewise.”
The event has the following offerings:
- Whiteboard Challenge
- Monopole Challenge
- Target Challenge
- Quality Challenge
- Egg Drop Challenge: (Gill would not divulge details.)
Gill noted the TRx Challenge is still looking for judges and asked prospective jurists to email firstname.lastname@example.org. “It’s going to be interesting to see how different types of crews, tower hands and emergency responders, perform rescues and various rigging techniques based on the ANSI Z359 and ANSI10.48 standards. It’s a great opportunity to learn from each other.”
NATE President Todd Schlekeway said, “NATE is happy to support member company Tower Safety & Instruction’s inaugural TRx Challenge event as a means to highlight the safety, skills and professionalism of the industry’s tower technician workforce. Events like the TRx Challenge can play an important role in raising awareness of the vital contributions that tower technicians make on a daily basis and help promote the career opportunities available in our dynamic industry.”
Are women part of the challenge? “Next year,” Gill said. “Definitely! Would love to have a team of women be announced as “World Champions!” but the way it came together for 2020 was all male teams. It will be interesting to see who will be the World Champion for 2020.”
By Jim Fryer, Inside Towers Managing Editor