Reba McEntire Recalls Competing in Her First Rodeo at 11 Years Old

Reba McEntire’s new book, Not That Fancy is full of stories from her life. Recently, she took to social media to share a shortened version of one of those stories with her fans and followers. Hear the country icon talk about her first rodeo competition in the video below.

Videos by American Songwriter

“I remember my first time competing at the rodeo,” she wrote in the post’s caption. It didn’t go as planned, but that was the best part,” she added.

[RELATED: Reba McEntire Launches Lifestyle Book ‘Not That Fancy’ to the Top of Multiple Bestseller Lists]

“The first time I ever competed in rodeo, I was 11 years old,” McEntire recalled. “I was as nervous as I’d ever been. Grand Pap, Daddy, Pake, and Alice had all set a high bar for what we McEntires could do in the arena. And I felt a lot of pressure to make them proud,” she continued.

McEntire was a barrel racer. “It’s a sport that requires lots of speed and skill, taking tight turns on horseback around barrels set out in a cloverleaf pattern. It can get dangerous. But it’s mostly a lot of fun,” she explained in the video.

For the best results, both the rider and the horse should train to take those tight turns at high speeds. However, McEntire wasn’t riding a barrel racing horse. She was riding Pelican, one of her father’s steer roping horses. “He was a good horse but he hadn’t spent much time barrel racing,” she revealed. “So, we were learning together.”

[RELATED: Reba McEntire Announces ‘Not That Fancy’ Audiobook Will Be Free to Spotify Premium Subscribers “Very Soon”]

“When we started our run, I felt like we were flying. Then, at the first barrel, old Pelican stumbled and I fell off. I hopped back on and we finished the best we could. But, as you can imagine, we weren’t winners that day,” McEntire recalled of her first rodeo outing.

She didn’t win in her first event. However, she didn’t let that stop her. McEntire continued to barrel race for years to come. In fact, the Country Music Hall of Fame notes that she continued to compete as a barrel racer while she was getting her degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

One could say that McEntire has rodeo in her blood. She grew up on a massive ranch in Chockie, Oklahoma. Her father, Clark McEntire was a champion steer roper and is a member of the Rodeo Hall of Fame. As a result, the country singer and her siblings grew up competing in a number of rodeo competitions.

The rodeo is also an important part of McEntire’s career as a country artist. Red Steagall discovered her when she sang the national anthem at a championship rodeo in Oklahoma City in the ‘70s. That led to her first recording contract. In short, she would not be the hugely successful and influential singer, actress, and author she is today without the rodeo.

Photo by Terry Wyatt/WireImage

Leave a Reply

Lainey Wilson, Jason Aldean, and HARDY Will Headline Tortuga Music Festival 2024