BMX turned Youngstown's Yankush into world traveler - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

BMX turned Youngstown's Yankush into world traveler

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

He's one of the voices of the action sports world and he gets to see a big chunk of the world in the process. You better believe Zack Yankush is enjoying every moment.

Growing up in Youngstown, it was pretty common to see him and some friends looking for a parking lot or a ramp, any chance to hop on a bike and do some tricks. At the time, a career wasn't really on his mind.

"It's funny because I remember in high school we would have motivational speakers come in," said Yankush. "I remember in high school I'm like, what is this lady talking about? 'Live your dreams, you can do it.' What are you talking about?"

Over time though, he found his sweet spot. It involved a bike, but it also involved a microphone.

"I was always the loudmouth funny guy, give me a microphone I'll make people laugh. So they're like, give Zack the mic, he'll announce the contest," said Yankush. "So I did a couple contests regionally, and one of my friends from Ohio, Nate Wessel, called me one day and he said, 'Hey, I have a contest in California for you. I'm building all the ramps for it. I told them about you. Can I give the lady your number?' And I said 'Sure.' So the next day I get a phone call. She's like 'Hey is this Zack?' I'm like 'Yeah.' She's like  'Hi this is Molly with the X-Games.'"

That's when life as an MC became a reality.

"I started getting contacted by organizers and countries that I'd never even heard of saying, hey we want you to come announce our contest," said Yankush.

Just like that, he was a world traveler and actually got to the point where he had to turn down offers because he was so busy. In 2015 alone, he visited 33 countries. Now he's with Nitro Circus and that passport is still getting a workout.

"We did two months in New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, then we did four months in Australia and now we're back in the States. We're almost done. We have two more weekends in the states, then we go to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and then back to South Africa," said Yankush. "I say it really casually, but to me, it almost is now where it's like going to all these countries is like going to states for me. But at the same time, I don't ever take it for granted. I bask in it and I don't ever want it to end."

In other words, maybe those motivational speakers were right. Those "chase your dreams" people he never wanted to listen to because now he's one of them.

"If you're passionate about something, whether it's music or art or violin or nature, embrace it and immerse yourself in it because only good things will happen," said Yankush.

His career is all the proof you need. From a bike in a parking lot to a worldwide dream job.

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