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Facts You May Not Know About Reba McEntire

Test your knowledge of this country music queen.

Reba McEntire isn’t just the Queen of Country. The redheaded firecracker has made a name for herself in acting as well as business with the launch of her clothing, footwear and home goods line. Of course, you already knew this if you’re a Reba fan.

But do you know what other careers she considered before becoming one of country’s most iconic crooners? Can you guess which big movie role she turned down or how she was discovered? Here are some lesser-known facts about Reba McEntire.

Young Reba Made Her Singing Debut In A Hotel Lobby

Reba McEntire was born in Oklahom in 1955. At age 4, Reba McEntire realized she could get paid to sing. She earned a nickel singing “Jesus Loves Me” in a hotel lobby in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where her father was competing in a rodeo. She got the idea from her older brother, who sang “Hound Dog” for a group of cowboys gathered in the lobby, according to the Wall Street Journal.

ichael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

She Got A Lot Of Practice Singing In The Family Car

As a child, Reba McEntire and her three siblings spent a lot of time in the car, traveling to and from world championship rodeo performances in which their father competed. Instead of chirping, “Are we there yet?” the McEntire children sang songs in the car. They were encouraged to do so by their mother Jacqueline McEntire, who taught them how to harmonize.

So grateful to spend #MothersDay with my Mama!

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Reba Started A Band With Her Siblings

She’s shared the stage with country’s greatest stars and has a knack for making duets with the best in Nashville. But her first bandmates were her siblings. When Reba McEntire was a freshman in high school, she and two of her siblings formed a band. They were known as the Singing McEntires and, together, they performed at rodeos. The band broke up, but McEntire continued doing solo performances throughout high school.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

She Caught Her Break At The Rodeo

Country music singer Red Steagall heard Reba McEntire singing at the Nationals Final Rodeo in 1974. Stegall helped her record a demo and subsequently sign a deal with Mercury Records. Years later, in 2007, the two recorded a song together: “Here We Go Again.”

Ron Galella / Contributor

Reba Will Send You An Autograph

How cool is this? According to her fan page, just send a large-sized, self-addressed, stamped envelope with paid return postage to the following address: REBA’S BUSINESS, INC. PO BOX 150289 Nashville, TN 37215. In return, you’ll get an autograph from country music’s queen.

reba mcentire photo
Getty Images | Emma McIntyre

She Re-Wore Her Iconic Red Dress While Hosting An Awards Show

Eagle-eyed fans watching the 2018 American Country Music Awards might have noticed that Reba McEntire re-wore her iconic, floor-length red dress with mesh inserts and a sparkly jeweled bodice. In one of her many costume changes during the show, she slipped into the dress that she first wore in 1993 when she was hosting the CMA Awards.

“I really liked the red dress from the ’90s,” McEntire told “People.” “It was like seeing an old friend again.”

reba mcentire photo
Getty Images | Isaac Brekken

Kelly Clarkson Is Her (Step) Daughter-In-Law

Guitarist and manager Narvel Blackstock married Reba McEntire in 1989, and McEntire became stepmom to his three children: Shawna, Cassidy and Brandon Blackstock (they also had a son, Shelby). In 2013, American Idol star and Grammy Award-winner Kelly Clarkson married Brandon Blackstock, making her Reba’s daughter-in-law. Even though McEntire divorced Narvel in 2015, she’s still close with Clarkson. After all, as Country Living points out, McEntire and Clarkson were close before they were even technically family, having shared the stage and sung together.

reba mcentire kelly photo
Getty Images | Ethan Miller

Her Work On The Cattle Range Helped Her Transcend Gender Barriers In Nashville

Nashville was mostly dominated by men in the 1970s and ’80s. McEntire explains that, as a woman, she worked twice as hard and didn’t complain. “You try to outsmart them, you try to outwork them and get there first. You help out, you volunteer, you’re at the front of the line. That’s what I learned from working on the cattle range, and it helped me in the music business.”

Reba is pictured below with Dwight Yoakam, Lisa Hartman and Bruce Boxleitner.

Ron Galella/WireImage

Her Christmas Wish Lists Are Practical

She may have topped the charts with her song “Fancy,” but Reba revealed in an interview that she’s easy to shop for and loves practical gifts. In fact, she told Taste of Country that she asked for windshield washers (yes, like the ones you find at gas stations) for Christmas one year. Santa brought her two.

reba mcentire christmas photo
Getty Images | Rick Diamond

Her Mom Helped Her Co-Write A Song Recently

The McEntire matriarch suggested a lyric change-up on McEntire’s 2017 album “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and Hope.” McEntire’s mom helped craft the lyrics for “I Got the Lord on My Side.”

“Momma said, ‘Can I make a suggestion?’ I said, ‘Well sure, what?’ She said, ‘Instead of saying on the second verse, ‘I’m so happy,’ why don’t you say, ‘Oh you’re happy, you’ve got the lord on your side?’ And I said ‘Dangit, why didn’t I think of that?’” McEntire told NPR.

Jacqueline Smith reba photo
Getty Images | Mike Moore

Security Almost Didn’t Let Her In For Her First Performance At The Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry, an iconic music venue in Nashville, first welcomed McEntire in 1977 for a debut performance. Somehow, though, her name didn’t end up on the list of performers and the security guard wouldn’t let her in. She called her booking agent, who arranged to get her in the doors.

grand ole opry photo
Flickr | tvanhoosear

Her First Performance At The Grand Ole Opry Was Cut Short

Reba McEntire’s parents and older sister drove 1,400 miles from Oklahoma to watch her make her debut performance at the Grand Ole Opry. McEntire’s performance was cut to three minutes, though. The reason it was cut short? Dolly Parton made a surprise appearance that night.

dolly parton photo
Getty Images | Ian Gavan

Actually, Reba McEntire Had Pretty Bad Luck At The Grand Ole Opry

The first time the country veteran visited the Grand Ole Opry, she was 7 years old and visiting the Nashville institution as an audience member. She got sick during the show and ran outside, where she threw up on the front steps. Despite a rocky start, the Grand Ole Opry is special to her now.

“The Grand Ole Opry is a home. It’s a family. It’s like a family reunion, when you come back and get to see everybody,” McEntire has said. She was inducted into the Opry in 1986. Here she is performing at the Grand Ole Opry during the CMA Country Christmas in 2017.

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 14: Recording artist Reba McEntire performs during CMA 2017 Country Christmas at The Grand Ole Opry on November 14, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mickey Bernal/FilmMagic)

She’s On An Impressive Streak

During the course of her career, Reba has achieved 35 No. 1 singles and sold more than 56 million albums. Country music experts at The Boot point out she’s also the only country female sole act to have a No. 1 hit in four straight decades, beginning in the 1980s with “Can’t Even Get the Blues.”

reba mcentire photo
Getty Images | Michael Loccisano

She Comes From A Family Of Champion Steer Ropers

McEntire’s grandfather, John Wesley McEntire, won the Steer Roping World Champion title in 1934. Then, her father Clarke McEntire claimed the steer roping title in 1957, 1958 and 1961. Talent runs in the family!

Reba McEntire takes over lead role in 'Annie Get Your Gun' on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre in New York City. Pictured: McEntire with Mother and Father at the after-party at 'Thalia' Restaurant. 01/26/2001. Photo: Evan Agostini / ImageDirect.

She Turned Down A Role In ‘Titanic’

Movie director James Cameron wanted Reba McEntire to play the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” in his 1995 film “The Titanic.” She turned down the role because of scheduling conflicts. Academy Award-winner Kathy Bates snagged the role instead.

Photo courtesy of IMBD / Paramount Pictures

She Made Her Film Debut In A Sci-Fi Movie

Starring opposite Kevin Bacon, Reba McEntire broke into film with her role as a survivalist in “Tremors.” The cult classic was about underground creatures who were disrupting a small town. McEntire postponed her honeymoon with Narvel Blackstock so she could wrap up work on “Tremors,” which hit theaters in 1990. While it wasn’t a big blockbuster, the campy sci-fi movie garnered a cult following and spawned several sequels.

Photo courtesy of IMBD / Stampede Entertainment

You Heard Her Voice In ‘Charlotte’s Web’

When the childhood classic “Charlotte’s Web” was released as an animated film in 2006, Reba McEntire and Kathy Bates both had voice roles. Reba thought it was a cute movie when it originally came out in 1973 and was happy to be a part of the 2006 version.

“I played Betsy the cow and Kathy Bates was Bitsy the cow. I don’t know if we were sisters or just buddy cows,” she said.

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You Could Get Married At Reba’s Former Estate

In 2017, a businessman purchased Reba McEntire’s 83-acre Starstruck Farms estate near Nashville for just over $3 million. Now called Cherokee Dock, the luxury estate can be rented out for weddings, family reunions, corporate retreats, galas, songwriter festivals and more. McEntire’s former waterfront home includes a Southern colonial home, luxury stable, eight-car garage, guest home, pool and pool house.

Photo courtesy of the Estate at Cherokee Dock

She Made A Cameo As Col. Sanders

Who wore that all-white tuxedo and black tie better: Col. Sanders or Reba McEntire? In early 2018, McEntire played the role of Col. Sanders, promoting KFC’s smoky mountain barbecue chicken.

“I’ve held a lot of roles in my life — sort of like the Colonel himself — but this is certainly the most unique one yet,” she said in a news release.

PR Newswire

Reba Could Have Been Your Elementary School Teacher

While going to school at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, McEntire studied teaching, majoring in elementary education. Music was her minor. She initially wanted to be a school teacher, following in the footsteps of her mother. Can you imagine Reba as an elementary school teacher?

reba mcentire photo
Getty Images | Rick Diamond

By Kindergarten, Reba Was Already Learning How To Drive

At age 5, Reba was already taking driving lessons on her family’s ranch in Oklahoma. She would help drive her father’s truck while he kicked hay off the back to feed the cattle. When she turned 16, she won a Ford truck for an essay she wrote. She could drive the truck for six months. In that timeframe, she managed to put 18,000 miles on it!

reba mcentire stage photo
Getty Images | Emma McIntyre

Tragedy Fueled Her Album ‘For My Broken Heart’

Long-time Reba fans likely remember the charter plane crash in March 1991 that killed eight of McEntire’s bandmates. Grief-stricken, Reba turned to music in her mourning and produced the album “For My Broken Heart.” It was dedicated to her deceased bandmates.

(Original Caption) Country singer Reba McEntire, who lost most of her band in a tragic plane accident last week, sings her Oscar-nominated song, "I'm Checkin' Out" from Postcards from the Edge at the 63rd Academy Awards.

Photography Is One Of Her Hobbies

In an interview, Reba said she likes to “piddle” (classic Reba-ism!) with the camera. Trap and skeet shooting also make her list of hobbies. A couple of years ago, she told Country Living she was picking up fishing as a hobby, too.

Reba mcentire perform photo
Getty Images | Phillip Faraone

She Was Part Of Her College Singing Group

While at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Reba joined a campus singing group called the Chorvettes. Fun fact: The group is still around, performing everything from Broadway tunes to country classics and gospel. The singing and dancing group is co-ed.

Reba mcentire perform photo
Getty Images | John Shearer/Country Rising

She Turned Down Faith Hill As A Backup Singer

When Faith Hill was starting out in her career nearly 30 years ago, Reba McEntire turned her down for a role as a backup singer. No hard feelings though! The two recorded a duet together in 2007 called “Sleeping with the Telephone.”

faith hill reba mcentire photo
Getty Images | Rick Diamond

Her Sitcom Almost Went By A Different Name

The singer’s sitcom, “Reba,” which ran from 2001 to 2007, was almost named “Sally.” Reba convinced the producers that her fans would be more enticed if her real name was used. Her character in the show is Reba Nell Hart. (Nell is her actual middle name.)

Getty Images | Mike Moore

Her Son Is A Race Car Driver

Shelby Blackstock is a professional race car driver. She admitted on the “Rachel Ray Show” that she wanted to “pass out” when she first started watching him race.

“When I first went to the Daytona Speedway and he was racing at Daytona, you know, they drop that green flag and here they come, racing around,” she said in an interview. “And I was sitting there filming him, and all could see was his car, and then underneath the helmet was this little bitty baby face! It just broke my heart! I was like, ‘Ahh!'”

The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals
Getty Images | Michael Loccisano

She’s Worked With Nonprofits

In addition to being a country superstar and actress, most fans know she’s ventured into business with her own line of clothing, footwear and home goods. But did you know about her philanthropic endeavors? Reba has served as a spokesperson for the Middle Tennessee United Way, the national 4-H clubs of America and Bob Hope’s Hope for a Drug-Free America.

reba mcentire photo
Getty Images | Michael Loccisano

Young Reba Was A Barrel Racer

As a youngster, Reba was a barrel racer and competed at rodeos. (For the uninitiated, barrel racing is a rodeo event that involves a rider on a horse attempting to complete a cloverleaf pattern around barrels in the fastest time.) Her father, however, a champion steer roper, told her she should pursue singing because she wasn’t talented enough to compete in the rodeo. Here’s footage of her as a rodeo host.