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 the 100th anniversary of the California Rodeo in Salinas. I rode my grandmother’s saddle (see photo).

The secret to riding is head, hands and heart. Hands (soft), head (up) and heart (full).

First kiss: Marvin Hassenplug. Just think, I could be Lynn Hassenplug.

First crush: Tex Ritter. Adored that man.

My mother taught me how to be original. I used to clean stalls and sing loud like Brenda Lee and Patsy Cline. My mother told me I would never make it unless I found my own voice. She was right.

Being on the road is muy dificile [very difficult]. Very expensive out there, paying for five or six men, doing 150 shows a year. That said, being on stage is the best. I’ve slowed way down; I only do about 40 shows a year now.

When I sold out Madison Square Garden in 1974, I thought things couldn’t get any better. I rode my horse up Madison Avenue. That was pretty exciting.

If I wouldn’t have made it in music, I probably would have been a journalist. That’s what I majored in. I was the editor of my high school and college paper. I was a reporter for The Sacramento Bee. I interviewed Sonny & Cher, the Dave Clark Five and Glen Campbell.

The young entertainer who reminds me of me is Faith Hill (and even Taylor Swift).


Lynn Anderson, Singer

Grammy Award Country Western singer Lynn Anderson will be performing the headliner concert on June 19 at the “Tribute to Western Movies Days” event held in Montrose, Colorado. Famous for her song “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” Anderson has recently released Cowgirl & Cowgirl II albums. The second album features a song loaned to her by Dave Stamey, “Buckskin Horse,” which first reminded her of Dale Evans’s horse Buttermilk. She includes a tribute to Dale on the first Cowgirl album. Both of these albums offer great tunes for a girlfriend getaway (see Skirts & Spurs by Miriam Cronkhite).

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