[su_heading size=”24″ margin=”0″]JUMPING THE GUN GAP[/su_heading]
World Record Dirt-bike Champion, Cam Zink Is A Brother In Arms
Interview by Danielle Breteau
One of Cam’s favorite ﬁrearms is his Tikka T3 Tactical .308. (ADRIAN MARCOUX PHOTOGRAPHY)
[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”4″]S[/su_dropcap]o, why would a shooting magazine reach out for an interview with a world-record-holding mountain bike rider/jumper/guru? Well, because he also totes a gun and hunts. In fact he comes from a family of hunters and totes many guns.
That’s why! Another reason we reached out to this young man was to demonstrate that gun owners, CCW carriers and hunters come from some of the most unlikely places. Think of the new generation of youth shooters who are paving the way for an ever-growing ﬁrearms-friendly community. Cam Zink represents that new generation, and while his livelihood is not in the industry, he is a brother in arms. I would like to introduce the shooting community to Cam Zink who made the Guinness Book of World Records – the ﬁrst time – by completing a 100-foot, dirt-to-dirt backﬂip jump on a mountain bike. However, that wasn’t enough, so he followed that up by completing an astounding 120-foot straight-air jump, at the same location, earning him a second world record title for the longest dirt-to-dirt jump. Stand by for a second – just announcing that feat left me out of breath. Enjoy getting to know Cam Zink.
American Shooting Journal Hello, Cam, thanks for talking to us.
Cam ZinkMy pleasure.
ASJ Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started with guns, or where the inﬂuence came from?
CZWell, it was a family thing. My father was an avid shooter and started taking us out hunting when I was pretty young. The ﬁrst gun I ever shot was a .22, but the very ﬁrst deerhunting riﬂe I ever owned was a .243 Winchester.
When he is not shooting, Cam and his brother Howie run YT USA, a mountain bike manufacturing company based in Reno. (IAN COLLINS PHOTOGRAPHY)
ASJ What did you think about hunting when you ﬁrst started?
CZLike I said, it was a family thing. It’s just what we did together. My brother Howie and I were just happy to be out with our dad.
ASJ What does your father do?
CZHe used to run a T-shirt, embroidery and screen-printing business, but is now semiretired. He is currently remodeling the house they live in to ﬂip it. He has done everything in his life, including being an electrician, which helps with his new semivocation.
ASJ And your mother?
CZMy mom was a real estate agent, so she couldn’t take oﬀ work to take us to races like my dad could, but she came when she could, and we loved it!
ASJ How did you get started with mountain bikes?
CZI started out like any other kid, riding bikes around the neighborhood. We had some school yard jumps, and I guess I realized around then that I had a bit more of a natural talent for riding. Later, one of my dad’s friends, Stan Fail, started a bike-component company called Kooka. He brought some high-end bikes into my dad’s shop, and my dad was super intrigued. That’s when my dad bought us our own mountain bikes, and Stan brought us to some races. The rest is history.
ASJ Does your brother hunt and ride as well?
CZHe does, and is currently the chief operating oﬃcer for YT USA, the North American franchise for YT Industries, which is the bike company that also sponsors me. Howie was always my hero growing up because he was so naturally gifted in all types of riding. When he got older and bought his ﬁrst car, he started hanging out with girls. Bike riding took a back seat for him then.
With a father who was an avid hunt, Cam (left) and Howie were raised to love the outdoors and be shooters. This and mountain biking was always a part of family outings. (IAN COLLINS PHOTOGRAPHY)
CZYT is a German-engineered mountain bike manufacturer that was solely in Europe until recently. They have now expanded to North America, Australia and New Zealand. What sets them apart is their bikes are sold directly to the public via the internet. No middleman, which keeps costs low. My brother and I run the North American franchise for them out of Reno, Nev.
ASJ So, when you say low prices, what are we talking about?
CZPrices range from around $900 to $5,400.
ASJ Wow, it sounds like there is a full range of bikes for all levels. Tell us about your favorite guns, or better yet, the guns you own.
CZI have several diﬀerent models, all for diﬀerent reasons. My daily carry is a Ruger LC9, but the trigger is a bit annoying. Other than that, I have a S&W .40-caliber handgun and .22 revolver, a Remington 20-gauge shotgun and .243 riﬂe, a Tikka T3 Tactical .308, an H&K .45 and, of course, an AR-15.
Cam and Howie on one of their family’s camping and outdoor trips. (CAM ZINK)
ASJ What type of guns are you looking to add to the family?
CZI really want a Kimber Solo. My dad has one, and it is the best subcompact I’ve ever seen. I also want to get a .300 AAC Blackout as well, especially now that I am sponsored by SilencerCo., an industry leader in silencers for ﬁrearms.
ASJ You mentioned that you have hunted. Tell us about that. What have you hunted so far?
CZI have only successfully shot one deer with my dad under a junior tag, and have been on several antelope and deer hunts with friends. I love duck hunting too, and in the next few years I’m going to make it up to Montana to hunt deer again.
Among activities such as extreme mountain biking, film making, shooting and his new family. Cam works hard running his and his brother Howie’s business. (IAN COLLINS PHOTOGRAPHY)
ASJ I know you are involved with the creation of a charity that means a lot to you. Can you tell us why you started it and what it oﬀers?
CZIt’s called Sensus RAD Trails, and I simply started it to build better bike trails. There are many organizations out there that build questionable trails, and take an
ASJ You have a huge following of fans who look up to you. Who inspires you?
CZI look up to many diﬀerent people, all for diﬀerent reasons. I have a lot of diverse goals with my business, riding, life, family, writing, ﬁlm making, shooting, etc. The people I look up to most are: Shaun Palmer, a professional snowboarder, skier, mountain biker and motocross rider who USA Today once put on the cover titled The World’s Greatest Athlete; Hunter S. Thompson, the late journalist, author and founder of the gonzo-journalism movement;Corey Bohan, an Australian BMX X-Games superstar; Rob Dyrdek, a professional skateboarder who founded Street League Skateboarding and holds 21 separate Guinness Book Of World Records for skateboarding; Travis Pastrana, X-Games gold-medal champion in several events, including supercross, motocross, freestyle motocross and rally racing, but mostly known for being an outrageous daredevil; and Johnny Knoxville, who is an actor, comedian, ﬁlm producer, screenwriter and stunt performer.
Cam’s daughter, Ayla Zink, is on her way to a world championship dirt-bike title. We might have to wait a couple more years, though. (CAM ZINK)
ASJ Do you have any regrets in life so far?
CZI try not to have regrets, but if I did, it would be some of the stupid things we did as teenagers. It’s impossible to change the past, so it’s hard to harbor regrets if you plan on changing the future [grin].
ASJ Do you have any new projects up and coming or anything we should be watching for?
CZI completed a movie that just came out called Cam Zink: Reach For The Sky, and you can see it on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Video and a few other places.
ASJ We will deﬁnitely check that out, Cam. Thanks for talking to us.