This Ain’t My First Rodeo

Tales from the “girl who likes country music”


Annabella Saccaro, Writer

What do you get if you play a country song backwards?

Well, according to Rascal Flatts …

“You get your truck back, you get your hair back


You get your first and second wives back.”

Okay, most of you probably didn’t get that. 

You may know me as “sooner boomer” from AP Macro, the person whose personality revolves around her cowgirl boots, or simply “the girl who likes country music.”

What’s the secret to keeping a pair of cowboy boots looking sharp? Paste wax and a little bit of spit.
Showing off our cowboy boots, my Aunt Lou (left) and I (right) discuss the treatment needed to keep a pair of boots in good condition.

And you may even be thinking, “this girl is so white she thinks ketchup is spicy.” Yes, I’ve gotten that before. 

I admit that country music is mostly a cycle of songs about heartbreak and tractors. However, to me, this genre is much more than the “static noise” that my friends claim my 13-hour (and growing) playlist is. 

In spite of this, I feel as if country music has given me a second family.

Posing with my co-host “BG” (Brandon Green), we celebrate the last day of my first year of interning for “BG’s Lunchbox” during the summer of 2018.

I have been spending my summers in Oklahoma with my dad since I was five years old. McAlester, a remote highway city, is a town where everybody knows everybody. It is a place where unlocked doors serve as beckoning arms for potluck community dinners. Dirt roads snake down side alleyways that lead to cattle ranches where cowboys work in the fields (yes, cowboys exist outside of Yellowstone). Frankly, the town’s biggest “tourist attraction” is Walmart.

My favorite pastime is gossiping with my Aunt Lou while looking at the view of her land.
The views during summer cornhole games in Stigler, Oklahoma.

But there’s something charming about growing up in a small town. You always feel at home knowing that the waiters at Marilyn’s diner know your order of biscuits and gravy with half-and-half iced tea. On weekends, everyone heads to the campground at Lake Eufaula where the Canterburys cook the entire crowd homemade breakfast burritos with fresh salsa. You feel as if you are seen, which is something you don’t experience in a large city where you practically feel invisible.

After a long day on the lake, my best friends Camille Robinson (left), Kaja Andric (behind the camera), and I (right) enjoy sweet teas (a southern staple) at the Boomerang Diner in Eufaula, Oklahoma. During the summer, I love to drive my golf cart to little restaurants, like the Sonic Drive In, since Eufaula is a town with long stretches of side-streets.

McAlester granted me opportunities to explore career paths that I grew to have deep passions for. Before stepping through the door at KMCO McAlester radio station, the only country song I had ever heard of was Carry Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” To be honest, I didn’t like anything about the genre back then. Songs like “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams Jr. kept me connected to my dad, as this is the first song we belch every time he picks me up from the airport. But, I had always been more of a 2000’s pop fan. You can imagine that twang did not often infiltrate my playlists.

My dad and I love to fish for Croppie on early weekend mornings in the summer.

Despite this, I was met with callers and other DJs who gave me a vote of confidence with their encouraging words on my first day on the job. One of our listeners, an old man from Stigler, Oklahoma, used to call at the same time every day to request a new song. To this day, I am still welcomed back to the station with listeners who call in to tell me how much they miss hearing my jokes and other employees giving me bear hugs when I step back in the building. In those moments, the entire town of McAlester feels like family.

Hosting a segment during my shift at KMCO-FM, I connect with my listeners under the radio name “Bella”.

Here is a sample of me drawing my listeners to request their favorite hits.

POV: You’re ten seconds away from introducing “Eyes on You” by Chase Rice.

To me, country music encompasses the feeling of family and togetherness. Songs like “Homegrown” by the Zac Brown Band and “No Such Thing As A Broken Heart” by Old Dominion remind me that the little town of McAlester will always welcome me home, no matter where my endeavors take me. 

Old Dominion, my favorite band of all time, performs at the Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Oklahoma.

So no, I don’t like country music just because of the shallow themes or monotonous tones, but I love country music because it connects me back to my roots. This genre reminds me of going to tend to the horses with my Aunt Lou or watching bonfires on the back of my dad’s truck bed. It’s the music where I feel the most loved, the most heard, and the most safe. 

Burning debris of trees and old wood furnishings, this bonfire was held at our family friend’s ranch in November to celebrate the winner of our group’s annual Chili Cook Off.

Therefore, although I am banned from playing music in my friend’s cars, I will always hold country music close to my heart …

… even if it may be my achy breaky heart. 

Do you like Country Music?


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