McEntire’s first brush with fame came at an early age, when she often led her fellow classmates and teachers in “The Star Spangled Banner” during school assemblies. Her parents didn’t have the extra funds for her to pursue a singing career, so she earned her teaching certificate from the state of Oklahoma and began riding her horse every morning to the Tipperary School to teach grades one through eight. In 1950, she married future three-time world champion steer roper and ProRodeo Hall of Fame member Clark McEntire. They had four children – Alice, Pake, Reba and Susie – in five years. Jackie put her educational career on hold to help build the family ranch. She spent her days working alongside the men on the ranch, cooking supper for everyone, taking care of the kids, and doing it all over again the next day. She also proved essential to her husband’s rodeo career, as well as her children’s burgeoning ones. McEntire returned to education in 1962 as the librarian and secretary at Kiowa High School, all while caring for her children, hauling them and their friends to and from school, football, basketball, 4-H, rodeo, FFA and FHA. Working with Clark Rhyne, she was responsible for the school board’s approval of the Kiowa Cowboy Band, which held school benefit concerts, performed at football games, and nurtured future music sensations like Kelly Rhyne, Carol Johnston, Dianna Kay Smith, Gary Raiburn, Roger Wills (Alan Jackson’s bass player/bandleader) and three of her own – Pake, Susie, and Reba McEntire.