Reba McEntire was the third of four children who was raised on her family’s 8,000-acre ranch in Chockie, Oklahoma. But they frequently traveled to watch their father, a World Champion Steer Roper, compete at rodeos. And with their mother, who was an aspiring country music singer, meant that long car trips were spent singing and harmonizing. Soon enough, they did catch the music bug. Young Reba started performing in school, and she also learned the piano and the guitar. Reba, alongside her sister Susie and brother Pake, soon became The Singing McEntires with Reba at the helm, playing the guitar and even writing songs. One of those was called “The Ballad of John McEntire,” a song that commemorated their grandfather’s achievements, which was then pressed by a local label and was released in small numbers throughout the region. The trio had their heyday before they parted ways when Pake graduated high school.
After Reba finished high school, she then enrolled at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where she majored in elementary education with a minor in music, a nod to both her mother’s footsteps and aspirations. Upon earning her Bachelor’s degree, she continued to help out on their ranch. One thing about Reba was that she loved barrel racing as much as she did singing. And so, she would often party and watch barrel racing with her buddies at the rodeo. One time, her dad told her that if she was gonna go and watch at the rodeo then she should get a job as well. At first, she was confused at what job her dad was telling her about until he told her that she should go and sing the national anthem.