Emily Buckley, editor in chief
Like thousands of other teens, Zack Whitesides, a freshman at Ridgeline High School, has spent hours practicing and perfecting trick shots, many inspired by the “dudes” from Dude Perfect, a YouTube Channel created by five men who produce trick shots, stunts, and good-natured games and competitions full of unique rules. The channel has more than 60 million subscribers.
During COVID, Zack and his older brother Blake learned how to bottle flip — practicing all day and all night. They would land bottles on their caps, stack bottles, and land them on any surface in the house and outside.
“That’s where it all began,” Zack’s dad, Mike Whitesides, said. “Then they began getting more creative with trick shots, including basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, frisbees, golfballs, and of course ping pong balls. Next, they practiced dice stacking in a cup and balancing coins. This led to even more advanced trick shots with darts, including crazy bullseye trick shots, Robin Hooding darts, and eventually Zack’s Brain Blowing Bangin’ Backflip Bullseye.”
The Brain Blowing Bangin’ Backflip Bullseye is the one that caught Dude Perfect’s attention and won him $10,000 in their first-ever trick shot of the month contest at the end of last year.
“For the shot, I had a cup on my head and there was a dart in the cup. There was a dartboard like 12 feet behind me so I stood backward facing away from the board and did a backflip,” Zack said. “The dart flew out of the cup on my head and got a bullseye!”
He said this shot only took about 30 tries before he nailed it and he got to shout the famous, “Let’s go!” that comes with a good shot.
“Zack had a good feeling about winning and got really excited when he knew he was a finalist,” Mike said. “On December 7, Dude Perfect announced on Instagram that Zack was chosen as the $10,000 winner of the Trick Shot of the Month competition from thousands of submissions.”
Since winning, Zack has been featured on several television stations, and his trick shot has been viewed more than 26,000 times on the Dude Perfect Instagram page. It will remain on the Dude Perfect app for a year.
The winning trick shot is not the Whitesides boys’ only impressive trick. Zack and his 16-year-old brother Blake have practiced filming and editing videos since 2020 and have their own trick shot YouTube Channel called All Round Pros (youtube.com/@allroundpros6900).
“Trick shots take hours and some days to accomplish,” Zack’s mom, Megan Whitesides, said. “They are an incredible amount of work. My sons have learned patience, determination, and perseverance through the process. They learned to never give up!”
Mike adds that it has been fun to see the boys grow their relationship through this hobby. “Trick shots created a bond between all of our boys,” he said. “They would brainstorm together and spend hours practicing and recording trick shots for their YouTube channel. It was such a fun activity for our family during COVID and obviously paid off for Zack in a big way!’
Outside of creating trick shot videos, Zack enjoys mountain biking, skiing, traveling, and sports. He has learned Spanish in the dual immersion program. He has an entrepreneurial spirit, owns his own water softener salt delivery business, and sells sports cards on eBay.