Zach (left) is pictured Louisville Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith, his wife Rachel, and his parents Kevin and Debi Newman.
By Walter Munday
Parks Outreach Manager
Last July, Frankfort native Zach Newman finished 4th in the BMX Vert Competition at the World X Games in Minneapolis, MN. Zach, the top USA finisher, placed behind Australian Vince Byron, nine-time winner Jamie Bestwick from the United Kingdom, and Chile native Coco Zurita. Unlike his competition, Zach was underrated and unsponsored. As an underdog, and he put himself on the world map at this year’s X Games.
Zach, 28, was born in Frankfort, KY, but fell in love with extreme sports at the age of eight. This was during the 90s and early 2000s when “Extreme Sports” were gaining popularity. In fact, the X Games and the Extreme Sports Channel had just launched. Following the opening of the Louisville Extreme Park (now David Armstrong Extreme Park) on April 5, 2002, and the Tony Hawk‘s Secret Skatepark Tour at the park that year, Zach (approximately 12 yrs. old by this time) was totally hooked.
A few weeks ago, Louisville Parks & Recreation invited some professionals to the David Armstrong Extreme Park to test themselves on a new metal vert ramp that’s considered to be among the finest skatepark elements in the world. The ramp was designed and built by G. Ramps AG, a German firm specializing in skate park elements construction, and the pieces were transported to the United States by a ship. Zach, and few others traveled to Louisville to check it out.
Zach, along with his parents Kevin & Debi and wife Rachel came down. I had an opportunity to catch-up with Zach and his parents, and learn a little more about his love for extreme sports.
“We would spend our weekends in Louisville,” said Debi. “I was like the mother to all of the kids who skated at the park back then.”
Both Kevin & Debi like skating. “I would skate the flat surfaces while my husband Kevin would venture into some of the smaller bowls.”
Zach, now 28, graduated from Frankfort High School in 2007. He attended and graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a degree in photography. Zach and his wife Rachel reside in Bellevue, KY, and he works full-time at a local skate shop.
According to an article published in his hometown paper (The State Journal), Zach indicated that he’s even more excited about his future now that he has one X Games competition under his belt.
“You always want to strive to be the top and the best, set the bar high, and that’s what I did,” Newman said. “Almost 20 years later, I’m still striving for that same goal, but now it’s within grasp. I feel like I solidified myself a spot in next year’s games and I’ll come swinging.