Classic CMA Awards Moments, #19: Reba McEntire, Female Vocalist of the Year acceptance speech (1984)

#19: Reba McEntire
Female Vocalist of the Year victory

Reba McEntire established her credentials so well that the Female Vocalist of the Year trophy would eventually be hers for four years running, but at one time she was simply a rising commodity with a pure country voice. Near the end of the 1984 ceremony, Reba McEntire had still not claimed a CMA award, and she surprised the crowd by winning the coveted Female Vocalist honor.

Her speech was trembling, tearful but altogether terrific, as the emotion of the achievement overwhelmed the future icon, and she thanked the CMAs on behalf of herself and her mother (“This is for me and Mama, and we thank ya.”) after a standing ovation from the industry crowd. Along with her four consecutive wins in the category, she would claim the Entertainer of the Year prize in 1986. It would be another 13 years before another female accepted the trophy, making that moment all the more special. McEntire owns six CMA awards, including those record-holding four Female Vocalist of the Year honors, a record that she now shares with Martina McBride.

Reba McEntire, “He Gets That From Me” (2004):


  1. Great piece? I’ve always loved that speech.

    But ‘record-tying’ four wins is a bit wrong I feel. Reba set the record – and still holds it for most consecutive wins. Martina McBride did win the award four times too, but not consecutive and since Reba did it first, she holds the record and always will. Nobody really breaks a record like this, they only tie it …

  2. Hey,

    You’re right. I changed the terminology slightly to be more explanatory. ;)

    I feel Reba’s feat is more impressive as well. McBride’s achievement is nice, but it occurred during a relatively soft spot for females in country music.

  3. Thanks Blake. I wasn’t trying to be nit-picky … but I just feel that Reba’s 4 consecutive wins are the greater achievment. And I just had to let everybody know she did it first and hers were all consecutive.

    The fact that Reba won in years where Rosanne Cash had more chart success (1987 most notably), and also had some heady competition with Barbara Mandrell in ’84, Dolly Parton in ’87, and Emmylou Harris all 4 years makes it all the more impressive … :)

  4. No problem. I had difficulty wording the accomplishment! You’re right on the money with that assessment—the competition was stiff. Cash in particular, who had 11 #1’s during the ’80s and never won, which we referenced earlier in the week.

    I would be curious to see if anyone will capture 4 in a row again. Carrie Underwood may be on her way.

    Oh, for the record… :)

    Reba, 1984-1987
    Martina McBride, 1999 & 2002-2004

  5. I think it’s a great accomplishment by Reba, but I can’t help but think that there were a few times in the early to mid 90’s, when Reba was huge and explosive, that she didn’t win any more female vocalist awards. Although, the women in those times did deserve their awards, we could’ve/should’ve seen Reba win some more awards.

  6. According to Reba’s website, she is the most nominated female artist in CMA history. And when you look at all the awards she has won – I think that Wikipedia says that Reba has won a total of 76 awards in her career. Can you imagine how many total nominations she has had in her career???

    Reba is absolutely amazing.

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