Reba McEntire ‘Didn’t Always Recognize the Dangers’ in Her Rodeo-Riding Youth

Country star Reba McEntire wrote about her childhood in the world of ranch living and rodeo life in her autobiography, Reba: My Story. And she confessed to being a bit rascally without always seeing the risks of horsing around in dangerous scenarios, like while literally on a horse.

What dangers did McEntire say she failed to recognize sometimes when she was just a kid at the rodeo?

Reba McEntire with her hands together, smiling
Reba McEntire | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Rodeo was Reba McEntire’s world before her country music career took off

As McEntire wrote in her 1994 book, she grew up in the rodeo scene and lived on a cattle ranch. So, certain things that went on were so much a part of her way of life she didn’t always realize there were many risks involved.

She shared, “Still, I can’t think of anything associated with rodeo that isn’t dangerous, including riding in the Grand Entry …”

The Grand Entry is an opening ceremony that features all the riders and horses. McEntire said she’d seen horses break loose during that part of the event. That kind of scenario significantly increased the risk of someone getting knocked or thrown to the ground and trampled.

Reba McEntire was sorry to say she didn’t ‘always recognize’ the risks of her family’s lifestyle when she was young

McEntire recalled bringing a friend named Brenda with her to the rodeo once. And Brenda, she said, wasn’t the most outstanding rider. So, she gave her one of the McEntire family’s “most gentle horses” and began to lead her into the crowd at the Grand Entry.

“Riders were milling around in every direction,” the successful singer said, “and I could see that Brenda was confused.”

McEntire, being a “mischievous young person,” encouraged her friend to move ahead. “Just keep on going, we’ll get through here,” she told her.

Brenda moved with the “flow of riders” right into the Grand Entry. Eventually, she almost fell off the horse because “she was so mixed up and scared,” McEntire recalled.

“I’m sorry to say that, when I was young, I didn’t always recognize those dangers,” she noted.

Brenda was fine in the end, by McEntire confessed she was “too immature” to think of the ways she could have been hurt or even killed. “Rodeoing was so much of my world that I couldn’t imagine what it would be like for someone who hadn’t been around it like I had,” she shared.

Reba McEntire wanted to live the life of a rodeo and country star

Despite the dangers, McEntire confessed she once dreamed of being famous for her barrel racing skills, not just her singing, in an interview with fellow country singer Cody Johnson.

“My dream was to be a world champion barrel racer,” she shared. But, she wanted to be a famous country star, too. She used to look out the window and think of what she would say in her award speeches as a child.

She also pointed out her country music career was really “laced together” with her rodeo career. In 1974, she was discovered singing at the National Rodeo Finals and scored her first record deal within a year. And that seemed to help make up her mind.

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