Reba McEntire Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at the Western Heritage Awards

Reba McEntire has another trophy to add to her collection. The Oklahoma native just received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, at the Western Heritage Awards, honoring not her music, but her commitment to the Western way of life, something she has been part of for almost seven decades.

“I never could figure out why the Western way was so romantic to me,” the 69-year-old said during her acceptance speech. “Because when we get up at 4:00 in the morning to go gather cattle and weigh and ship them out, and then go to school by 8:15, I couldn’t figure out where is the romantic part of this. This is a lot of hard work. But I loved to watch the old Western movies, because the cowboys always protected and defended the underdog. That’s what I loved about it. And that’s what cowboys and cowgirls do. That’s what we do in our way of life.

“We stand up for the underdog,” she continued. “All of y’all do that, because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here in this room tonight, because that’s what this cowboy way of life, cowgirl way of life, the Western way of life is all about: pulling for your neighbor. Reaching out, helping them stand back up when they get knocked down. That was the romantic part about it.”

McEntire recently opened up about how her childhood on a ranch was a far cry from how her life looks now as one of country music’s biggest superstars.

“My mama was not into hair, makeup, looking a certain way. If she got us four kids dressed and out the door, that was a huge accomplishment,” McEntire told People. “If we got a brush through our hair, that was another big step. Get our teeth brushed, that was another big deal. So the niceties past that was not even a thought. It was just surviving.”

When McEntire’s now-legendary career began, she was unsure of how to stand up for herself, especially when it came to her appearance. It wasn’t until she was talked into wearing a strapless dress, one that made her uncomfortable, that she found the courage to state how she did, and didn’t, want to look.

“It took me a while to gain that confidence to stand up to a professional stylist, hair and makeup person and say, ‘That’s not me. I don’t like that,’” McEntire shared. “And they’d say, ‘Well, yeah, you just sit here and we’ll make sure you look just right.’ I said, ‘Well, make me look like me.’”

McEntire is currently enjoying her second season as a coach on The Voice. She is also working on a new NBC comedy, which will star both her longtime boyfriend, Rex Linn, as well as her former Reba co-star, Melissa Peterman,  Find all of McEntire’s music and upcoming performances at