The story behind Loretta Lynn’s rodeo extravaganza of 1969

Loretta Lynn, right, and her husband, Oliver
Loretta Lynn, right, and her husband, Oliver

Every weekend in the summer of 1969, country music star Loretta Lynn treated Nashville to a rodeo she hosted with husband Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

According to Loretta Lynn, the annual event started in 1965 in her backyard in Goodlettsville as a fun show for kids. Doolittle Lynn was the impetus. He had been a rodeo rider on the West Coast before Loretta Lynn took up singing.

“Doolittle competed in rodeos when he was younger, and it will never get out of his blood,” Loretta Lynn told The Tennessean in 1969. “He dresses, walks and talks like a cowboy ’cause he is one of them.”

Held every weekend from May 30 to Sept. 1 in 1969, over 100 competitors came to shows to win more than $150,000.

Not only could visitors see cowboys and cowgirls ride bucking animals, they were also treated to a 40-minute performance by Loretta Lynn herself.

The rodeo still takes place every year, but now it happens on Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

READ MORE: Married to the Bottle: Loretta Lynn and Husband Oliver Lynn Love Story