At age 15, Cline wrote a letter to the Grand Ole Opry asking for an audition. She told local photographer Ralph Grubbs about the letter, "A friend thinks I'm crazy to send it. What do you think?" Grubbs encouraged Cline to send it. Several weeks later, she received a return letter from the Opry asking for pictures and recordings. At the same time, Gospel performer Wally Fowler headlined a concert in her hometown. Cline convinced concert employees to let her backstage where she asked Fowler for an audition. Following a successful audition, Cline's family received a call asking for her to audition for the Opry. She traveled with her mother, two siblings, and a family friend eight hours to Nashville, Tennessee. With limited finances, they drove overnight and slept in a Nashville park the following morning. Cline auditioned for Opry performer Moon Mullican the same day. The audition was well-received and Cline was expected to hear from the Opry the same day. However, she never received news and the family returned to Virginia.