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Reba Returns To Where Her Career Began More Than 40 Years Later, And Gets The Crowd On Their Feet

CMT / Reba

Most country music stars made a name for themselves after working hard behind the scenes for years, but Reba's big break was like something out of a Hollywood movie.

The Grammy-winning country star comes from humble beginnings in McAlester, Oklahoma. She first started performing as part of her school band, and later on local radio stations with her sisters. But by the time she made it to college it was clear Reba had a backup plan, because she was studying to be a teacher.

Reba performing at a rodeo in the 1970s.Reba / Twitter

But one lucky break changed everything, and it happened at a very unlikely place.

Reba's family has a strong connection to the rodeo scene. Her father is a rancher, and a champion steer roper, while the singer competed in barrel jumping herself.

Those connections landed Reba a job singing the national anthem at rodeos, including the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1974. Watch her incredible performance:

In the crowd that day was country star Red Steagall, who was performing at the same event. Steagall was so impressed with Reba that he helped start her singing career in Nashville. She signed a record deal the next year, and the rest is country music history.

But more than 40 years after her big break, Reba returned to her roots for an emotional performance.

The singer appeared at this year's Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and brought the house down performing the anthem once again.

Reba sang the anthem at this year's National Finals Rodeo.Reba / YouTube

In a special video on her YouTube account, the country star reflected on her long career, and what it was like returning to the place where it all began.

“I can’t believe I am back here all these years later singing the National Anthem,” she said.

"It feels really strange without Red Steagall 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."

McSpadden was an Oklahoma politician and rodeo organizer who helped Reba land the job singing at the national finals.

Reba also remembered another important man in her life, her father, who helped set her on the path to stardom.

"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.”

What an incredible performance! 40 years later, and she's still got it!

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com