Unusual Career After Football

1 decade 3 years 9 months ago Monday, December 19 2005 Dec 19, 2005 Monday, December 19, 2005 8:17:05 AM CST December 19, 2005 in Tiger Talk

One man traded in his football gear, for a new pair of gloves. Since 7th grade, Kyle Piper played football, but after graduating from college, his new playing field was inside with his mother, doing nails.

"Football was a lot more work than I really wanted to do," Piper explained. "Around here I have a great time and I get to sit around and hold hands with women all day. So you know quite frankly I think I'd have to make the same decision again. The NFL I might have made it till I was in my early forties, but here I'll be doing this for the rest of my life and loving it."

It all started on the football field, but it ended in the nail salon. The former Southeast Missouri State Center and MU linebacker, put the football away and brought out the nail file. And from Mizzou Tiger to a teddy bear, Kyle surprises co-workers and clients with his big heart and big hands.

"I came here to soak off nails from another salon, and this large really intimidating figure came at me and I was expecting a really harsh voice to come out of him," explained nail tech Ming Hsieh. "But he was pretty much really sweet, and he was like, 'Can I help you 'hon, what did you need?' It was kinda weird cause I was expecting such a rough kinda guy, and he just has the sweetest personality."

"Well he's so sweet. I mean that was my first impression, he was just sweet and funny," client Lene Johansen said.

But there was one woman who got the biggest surprise of them all.

"Never, absolutely never. I mean he came in and he said mom what do you think about me doing nails, I said Kyle I never even thought about you doing nails. Nail art yes he'd done it since he was about 15 in my shops that was airbrushing. He's an artist, so that was just natural. But sitting down doing nails, I never ever dreamt he would do that," Nails Only owner Mary Piper said.

But Kyle's competitive nature hasn't just sat on the back burner. He's outside playing. It's just another game.

"I've been playing paintball since 7th grade. Which was back in 1992. It was actually my 7th grade wrestling coach took us out onto his personal property out in the farmland, rented the equipment for us. And during one of the Christmas vacation practices, we went out there and played paintball and it was the best time I've ever had and I've been hooked on it ever since."

Not only can he fix nails, but Kyle Piper can also fix the most elite paintball markers. And he's the only master air-smith in the entire mid-Missouri area. Paintball is currently the fastest growing sport in the nation with over 11 million participants. Kyle Piper eventually wants to extend Nails Only to bigger markets like, St. Louis and Kansas City.

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