Singer, songwriter and music producer Reba McEntire is undoubtedly an icon in country music. Raised in a small town in Oklahoma with her tightknit family by her side, Reba’s country roots and values remain prominent in everything she does today. After being discovered at the National Finals Rodeo in 1974 when she sang the National Anthem, Reba signed a contract with a major record label. With her authentic “no quit” attitude, Reba established her singing career and made a name for herself, helping pave the way for women in the industry. Reba is a true multi-media entertainment mogul who has won numerous awards and accomplishments. Her successful career spans across music, television, film, theater and retail.
Born in McAlester, Oklahoma and raised on a ranch nearby, Reba got her start at home. Reba’s musical mother and World Champion Steer Roping father had her family performing on rodeo stages from the time she was a kid. Reba and two of her siblings, Pake and Susie, were part of the Kiowa High School Cowboy Band and recorded their first single “The Ballad of John McEntire” in 1971 as a tribute to their grandfather, World Champion Steer Roper, John McEntire. The three musical siblings formed their own group, The Singing McEntires, and performed frequently at rodeos, clubs and dance halls. Reba graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, OK with a major in elementary education, like her mama, and a minor in music.
With deep family ties to ranching and rodeo, the cowgirl life was all Reba knew. As Reba says, “rodeo is simply in the blood of our family.” Reba started running barrels when she was nine years old and by the time she was eleven, she was already competing in rodeos. She competed in about fifty rodeos a year after she got out of high school and would go on to run barrels until she was twenty one years old. “I never made the top fifteen contestants at the National Finals Rodeo, but I always dreamed of it.”
Reba and justin boots: the perfect fit
In December 1974, Reba sang the National Anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, OK. After the rodeo performance, Reba was invited to the Justin Boots Suite at the Hilton where the rodeo contestants were staying. Red Steagall, who Reba now attributes much of her success to, was singing and playing the guitar in the suite that night.
One of the cowboys asked Reba to do Dolly Parton’s hit song, “Joshua.” Reba sang a cappella and as Red Steagall later said, “that little redheaded girl started singing and it just blew me away.” The next month, Red Steagall invited Reba to Nashville to record demos for his music publishing company and landed her a record deal with Polygram Mercury Records by the end of the year in the suite that night.
Reba's hard work and persistence pays off
Although her first recordings were not as successful as later albums, Reba worked steadily to build to her career. She made her Grand Ole Opry debut on September 17, 1977, which happened to be 30 years to the day after her father had won the All Around at the Pendleton Round-Up. As she continued to gain momentum and climb toward the top of the charts with each album release, Reba finally had two No. 1 hits in 1982 with “Can’t Even Get The Blues” and “You’re The First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving.”
Her success was rewarded in 1984, when she won the CMA Vocalist of the Year Award for the first time. Reba would go on to win this Award for four consecutive years (1984-1987), and is currently tied with Martina McBride for the most wins in this category. The year 1986 brought further honors, as she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in January and was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in October.
After getting a taste of acting from her music videos, Reba began exploring her options in Hollywood. After appearing in several movies and television shows, Reba triumphed when she took on the role of Annie Oakley in the Broadway play “Annie Get Your Gun.” She also starred in and produced the six-season television series, Reba.
Reba’s reign of No. 1 hits spans four decades and she is recognized by many as the biggest female hitmaker in Country music history. As one of the most successful female recording artists in history, Reba has sold over 56 million albums worldwide and is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. She has won 15 American Music Awards, 16 ACM Awards, 9 People’s Choice Awards, 6 CMA Awards, 3 GRAMMY® Awards, an ACM Career Achievement Honor, was a 2018 Kennedy Center Honors recipient, and is one of only four entertainers in history to receive the National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress.
Reba and justin boots: coming full circle
We are incredibly proud of our unique partnership with Reba McEntire. The Reba by Justin® Collection was made entirely by women for women and there are bits and pieces of Reba’s life story in each style.