If it weren’t for Red Stegall, Clem McSpadden and a stellar national anthem performance by Reba McEntire at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 1974, we may not have heard of Reba McEntire and country music wouldn’t be the same.
Reba’s big break came in ’74 when she took that spot at the NFR singing the anthem, at the prodding of her father, Clark McEntire. The right people were there to see it and the rest is history.
On Friday night (Dec. 15) Reba returned to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas to, again, perform the national anthem.
“I can’t believe I am back here all these years later singing the National Anthem,” Reba said in the video. “It feels really strange without Red Stegall being by my side or Clem McSpadden being here. Red is in the audience tonight though, that’s what’s really fun. But without Clem it’s real sad and I miss him a lot. He was the reason I got to sing the national anthem. Daddy said, ‘Reba instead of going up, partying having a big time, why don’t you get a job.’ I said, ‘Why?’ I didn’t see a problem with me just going up and having a good time. But he said get a job singing the national anthem. So, I did and I guess if I hadn’t have done that I wouldn’t have a recording contract today.”
Thank goodness for small favors.
Reba relived the magical night and takes fans on a behind-the-scenes journey for that special night.
Here’s Reba’s performance 43 years ago.