Sept. 08--Hilda Reyna remembers singing into an old hoe as she danced in the lush green fields of Colorado.
As her parents picked sugar beets, she broke into her first live performance.
"I'd pick up my brother's short hoe and sing into it like a microphone," she said. "I'd sing for them. I was born that way. I was always singing."
Today, she's the host of a long-running television show that's turned her into a local celebrity known as La Rancherita.
As a little girl, she was reaching for the stars.
At 6, she won her first talent show in Harlingen, winning a recording contract that led her to record the classic "A Medias de la Noche."
The show led to a live singing performance on KGBT-AM.
"This brought 'live' into my heart and soul," she said.
Soon, she was singing to help her family.
When she was 10, she began singing in Reynosa restaurants, where she worked for four years.
"It was for survival," she said. "I gave all my money to my mom. It was enough to put food on the table and pay bills."
It was TV host Johnny Canales who gave Reyna her stage name.
At 21, her song "La Rancherita" led her to take the stage on El Show de Johnny Canales.
"It was a great feeling," she said. "I had the most awesome outfit -- all white with gold boots and a .45 in my hand."
But Canales didn't know she'd titled her song La Rancherita. Instead, he thought Reyna billed herself as La Rancherita.
"So Johnny Canales said, 'From now on, you'll be La Rancherita.'"
In the mid 1980s, Reyna landed her first television show on SIN-K12 in Harlingen, with the legendary Rocio Durcal and Juan Gabriel as her first guests, she said.
Then in 1997, she launched her show La Rancherita and Friends.
Today, the show airs on KVEO HD Channel 23.2 and HD Channel 861, she said.
"My TV show is an inspiration for me and my viewers," she said. "It's about real people -- whether working in the fields or singing on stage. It's about life itself, through song and melody."
Throughout her career, she's recorded more than 50 records, with hits reaching across much of Latin America, she said.
Now, her song "Ya No Lloro Mas Por Ti" is climbing the charts in Colombia, she said.
"In life we can't let stumbling blocks get in our way," Reyna said. "Press on with your dream!"
(c)2013 Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas)
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