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Singing superstar Reba McEntire likes to dress up to put on a show, but she didn’t like to dress up dolls as a a child. In fact, she said she never even played with any of her own.

Instead, she dreamed of being a rodeo star and started by roping tricycles with her siblings. And by the time she was 11, she was competing in barrel races at rodeos.

What else did the country star say about bypassing Barbies for rodeo lights? And what else did she like to do for fun when she was younger?

Reba McEntire in a jacket with fringe sleeves and cowboy boots
Reba McEntire | Rich Fury/ACMA2019/Getty Images for ACM

Reba McEntire grew up in a rodeo family

McEntire is one of four siblings from a rodeo family. Her father, Clark, and her grandfather, John McEntire, were both world champion steer ropers.

When McEntire and her siblings were children, they would rope their tricycles while their mother pretended to be a rodeo announcer, according to Biography.

But she eventually followed the footsteps of her father and grandfather into the rodeo ring. She competed in barrel racing competitions between the ages of 11 and 21 and eventually won two buckles. For the curious, a barrel race is a timed event where a horse and rider run a pattern around barrels.

Reba McEntire: ‘I never had a doll in my life, that I played with.’

During an interview with Larry King for CNN’s Larry King Live, McEntire shared that she didn’t play with dolls that she was given as gifts when she was a child.

“I never had a doll in my life, that I played with. I had, you know, gifts that I would kind of put aside,” she explained to King. “Little Susie, my little sister, she had baby dolls, and Alice, I think she had a baby doll. I don’t remember.”

McEntire explained that she was less into playing with dolls and more into besting whatever her brother, Pake, was up to.

“Pake and I — honest to goodness — Pake and I would run out of the house when we were released from our chores, saying anything you can do, I can do better,” she recalled. “And it would start with throwing rocks, to doing push-ups and to playing the piano, playing the guitar and we’d just trade off, and then it’d just be arm-wrestling or anything.”

But even though McEntire didn’t play with dolls as a child, it’s of important note that she did become one as an adult. Mattel released a Barbie in her honor called the Barbie Collector Pink Label Reba McEntire Doll. She has red hair and wears a sparkly red dress as a nod to the “Fancy” singer’s famous attire.

Reba McEntire was raised in a home with ‘a lot of fun and laughing’


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In her book, Reba: My Story, McEntire again declares that she didn’t like playing with dolls, but “started trouble” for fun as a child — particularly with her siblings.

She recounts a time when, with Pakes’s help, they convinced their sister, Susie, she was adopted. They did that by pointing out she didn’t have the same characteristics as her siblings and their mother — red hair and freckles. Seven-year-old Susie was eventually so upset by their antics, she packed her suitcase.

But despite the mischief and arguments, the “I’m a Survivor” singer shares that “there was a lot of fun and laughing coming out of that little house.”