“I don’t think I would be able to handle your situation like you do.” This is a statement I’ve heard a lot since September, 2018. […]
Roper Review: Eddie Nieto
Written by: Teri Edwards< Back to Articles
Having a good attitude is essential to be truly successful at anything. Eddie Nieto is a prime example. It’s hard to believe that this #8E heeler did not start roping, or riding a horse, until he was fifteen years old. He watched some roping and decided that’s what he wanted to do.
A neighbor showed him how to hold a rope and his grandfather gave him permission to ride the horse in their backyard. With no teacher, or arena, Eddie learned to rope by watching videos and roping the dummy relentlessly. He also roped a goat and a donkey. In a little over a year, Eddie progressed from a #1 to a #6 (in the old USTRC numbers).
Almost immediately he enjoyed success. At 17, Eddie won $12,000 at the USTRC Finals by winning a Preliminary and placing in the Shoot Out. As a senior in high school he won the New Mexico High School championship for the year and qualified for nationals.
After high school Eddie purchased his PRCA card and filled his permit at his second rodeo. He roped and traveled for a couple of years where at the George Strait Team Roping Classic he made it back to the top 50 both years. He also entered and roped at the BFI.
About that time, when he was 21, Eddie met and married his wife, Melissa. Eddie realized his job would not support a family and allow him to rodeo as well. Knowing he had always wanted to give lessons and train horses, Melissa encouraged him to quit his job and give it a try. Now, twelve years later, they are still in business giving lessons, training horses, and working with a lot of kids.
“My wife and I believe in God and try to live our lives accordingly. The only reason we have our place and are successful is because of God,” explains Eddie.
When he was just four years old, Eddie and his parents were in a vehicle that was hit by a drunk driver. He lost his parents in the accident and was raised by his grandparents.
“My grandparents raised me and did everything they could for me. They supported me 100 percent in anything I wanted to do,” says Nieto. “God spared me from the accident that took my parents.”
Eddie feels blessed that he and Melissa are able to spend every day with their kids, Levi, 5, and Lexi, 2, in the arena roping and riding. Eddie credits Melissa for much of their success and being responsible for the unglamorous behind the scene chores.
The couple often competes together and Levi just won second place in the 5 & Under Junior Looper in Albuquerque.
“People tell me all time that they started roping too late,” says Eddie. “There’s really no excuse. If you put enough time into it and have enough heart you can succeed. I’m proof of that.”
How much do you practice?
Almost every day. I take two days off every week to give the animals a rest and to spend time with my family.
Do you make your own horses?
Yes. I’ve never bought a made horse.
Who were your roping heroes?
Jake Barnes and Clay O’Brien Cooper, Speed and Rich.
Who do you respect most in the world?
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My grandparents. We didn’t have much but my grandpa did whatever he had to do for me to practice.
If you had a day off what would you like to do?
Spend it with my family.
Facing the Giants
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Quiet, fun loving, humble.
What makes you happy?
My family. Knowing I’m blessed with a healthy family. I try to keep life in perspective. We’re not here forever.
What makes you angry?
If you were given 1 million dollars, how would you spend it?
I would like to pay off debt, but I would use most of it to help people who don’t have much.
What is your worst quality – your best?
My worst is sometimes I’m too laid back. My best quality is I don’t get mad.