Photo courtesy of Zach Hinte

The authentic life of Zach Hinte

From pro soccer overseas to Montana

From growing-up surfing on Virginia Beach, to playing professional soccer in Australia, to working on a massive cattle ranch, Zach Hinte believes life is best lived with experiences and authenticity. After heeding advice from a friend and settling in the area, he has become a living, breathing ode to the Old West. Last weekend, he rode horses with his buddy who breaks mustangs on a ranch. The authentic cowboy experience, those “grit” moments fascinate him. Discomfort from learning new things, exposure to and survival in the wilderness are the true paths to greatness. He described working on a cattle ranch as incredible and something his father called the perfect opportunity to understand the protein industry. “It was an awesome process to see. I think that was my change –  in getting out of my comfort zone: seeing what cowboys do, ranchers do. And I think that also gave me a bigger fascination of experiencing these beautiful parts of the country. I’ve traveled everywhere, but it doesn’t get any better than where I’m from  – just how beautiful our country is,” he said. With a girlfriend who is a Montana native, he regularly meets those who have been connected to the land for generations. With a timberwolf, pyrenees, malamute mix pup, and tattoos of cowboys, steers and horses, he speaks of his favorite author – Jack London – and one of his favorite quotes: “Show me a man with a tattoo and I'll show you a man with an interesting past.” Since moving here, he has embraced the gifts of the mountains: snowboarding, splitboarding, backcountry adventures. He likes earning his runs. To deviate from most people in the area, he did not move to Montana for snowsports. He moved to be uncomfortable. His father, a former Navy Seal taught him that that “I think Montana is literally the last best place on earth. All the public land, how uncomfortable you want to get out here. You can still hike to those places that haven't been hiked in a hundred years. The last footprint before yours could have been 75 years ago,” he said. When he is not riding horses or his snowboard, he rides a Sportster 1200 Custom Harley Davidson. During the interview, he wore a Harley Davidson shirt, a Filson hat, and the tattoos on his arms slightly peeked out. A large sterling silver ring was prominent on his right hand: a steer on the top and two wheel guns on each side – a gift from his girlfriend. He wants to create an authentic brand for Montana, similar to Filson of Seattle, that encompasses the motorcycle riding renegade outdoorsmen, the cowboys, the ranchers; clothing that can stand-up to the harsh Montana environment and stand the test of time. That is his dream. “Authenticity is key. People see right past it if it’s something other than that. Me, I’m authentic and I think the people I hang out with and chill with are authentic – real people. As I get older, I tend to gravitate toward people who can teach me things I don’t already know: fishing, hunting, riding horses,” he said. He never wants to get too comfortable. He never wants to stop learning or pushing boundaries. After he left soccer, he sought greater understanding of what drives him. Montana has allowed him to become more fully himself. He hopes that everyone who visits will get the same experience: supreme respect for the mountains and a deeper understanding of what it is to be human. “I hope people get the authentic Montana experience: tranquility, less people, nature, understanding that it is stronger than you,” he said. “Nature can eat you up and spit you out if you don’t know what you’re doing; if you don't know the harshness of this environment.”

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