What You Just Don’t Know: Michael Nieto


Daja Dansby, editor

Minutes after stepping out of the ring, senior Michael Nieto’s heart is still racing. Though the cheering crowd distracts him, he already knows what’s coming tomorrow: pain. 

“I’ve been riding bulls since I was 12,” he said. “Everyone starts off with a baby bull but the older I got, the bigger the bull I ride.”

Nieto’s first ride was at his family ranch in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. 

“I grew up with bull riding,” he said. “In Mexico that’s what you do. I had a lot of relatives that rode bulls, as well, so you could say it’s in my blood.” 

Each weekend, Nieto participates in bull riding competitions and practices in Wylie, Texas where he can make up to $100 per event.

“I want people to know that there are different types of bull riding,” he said. “The kind that I do isn’t like the American version people always see. I ride with spurs on my skin and hold on with two hands.”

Though professional bull riders can make large amounts of money, Nieto said he rides as a hobby.

“My favorite part is the adrenaline,” he said. “I’m an adrenaline junkie. I love the sweat running, the heart jumping, all of it. My least favorite part is the pain, but you can’t feel it until the next day. The quote I use to keep motivating me to ride is ‘On to the next one ol’ son.’”