A baby-faced Reba McEntire led an arena full of cowboys in this ode to America YouTube screenshot/C Johnson
YouTube screenshot/C Johnson

It’s hard to imagine a time when Reba McEntire wasn’t a superstar, but she was just a fresh-faced girl in 1974 when she signed up to sing the national anthem at the National Finals Rodeo. This clip shows the first time Reba really sang in front of an arena full of people. Reba’s grandfather and father both won the championship at this event, so it’s appropriate Reba’s stellar career kicked off here.

Texas singer-songwriter Red Steagall was there that day, and he was instrumental in getting Reba in touch with record labels in Nashville. It was the first step to a career that has landed Reba in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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We totally understand what Red saw in Reba that day. The raw talent is totally on display, and Reba looks completely fearless singing in front of that large crowd.

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If you love this performance, we’ve got some big news for you. Reba will be performing the national anthem at the 27th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge on Saturday, June 10 at Nashville’s First Tennessee Park. The event features some of your favorite country stars hitting the softball field to help strike out cancer, and it is one of the big events surrounding this year’s CMA Music Festival. Tickets are on sale now at

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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