What History Taught Me

Lynn Anderson, Singer


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In 1966, I ran for Miss Rodeo California in Salinas. I didn’t win the contest.
Won the “Horsemanship.” Won the “Written Test.” Placed Fourth . . . which means I blew out on “Personality” and “Appearance.”

My mother wrote my first major hit “Ride, Ride, Ride,” when we were on the way to the Salinas Rodeo in 1966. She started singin’ it in the truck. I said, “When you finish that one, I want to record it.” We all had a good laugh. She was the singer in the family. If I had made Miss Rodeo California that year, I probably wouldn’t have sang that song. When I lost, it was a blessing in disguise.

The person who influenced me most growing up was my grandmother Grace Anderson. She said I could ride any saddle if I could feel the horse beneath it.

When my grandmother Grace passed away in 1968, her whole rig disappeared. We’re talking Roy Rogers-style rig—silver-mounted saddle and bridle, tapaderos and breast collar, silver serape and even (dare I say it, Dave Stamey?) a crupper!

While I signed autographs at a fair in Wisconsin 10 years ago, a lovely couple told me they had bought my mom’s saddle. But it was indeed my grandmother’s saddle. I bought it back from them.

In 2010, I was invited to sing the National Anthem at...

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