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Garth Brooks Wins Entertainer of the Year at the 2016 CMA Awards

Garth Brooks 2016 CMA Awards
Gustavo Caballero, Getty Images

For the first time in nearly 20 years, Garth Brooks, won Entertainer of the Year at the 2016 CMA Awards. The icon received the award from presenter Taylor Swift, who mentioned her own history with the city and country music.

“Hi, Nashville,” Swift said when she got onstage. “It’s been almost 13 years since I came to Nashville with a dream of being a songwriter and a recording artist. And I learned so much about what it means to be an entertainer from the remarkable artists in this arena tonight. That’s one of the reasons I feel so honored to present this next award.”

After she read off Brooks’ name, the singer classily went and hugged the other acts who were nominated before heading up to the stage to get his award. He bowed to Swift, who bowed back.

Brooks’ rapid-fire speech thanked the many people who have helped his career, starting with manager Bob Doyle (“since day one”) and other people in his team. He then tipped his hat to his road family, band and crew (“I love you guys — you know I love you”) and called out wife Trisha Yearwood, “the coolest touring mate you could ever ask for, the love of my life, the breath I breathe in and out.”

Brooks’ speech continued with him thanking God and the CMAs (“Thank you for a wonderful, wonderful run”) and the fans who have supported his concerts: “Thank you for showing up for this tour.” He nodded to his award trophy, saying lightly, “I get to take you home,” before ending his speech with a large proclamation: “We are so damn lucky to be a part of this thing called country music!”

“Here’s to the next 50!” Underwood said in the background, as the show ended.

Brooks, who’s been nominated for the award seven times, last won Entertainer of the Year in 1997; he also won in 1991 and 1992. Other Entertainer Of The Year nominees included Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban.

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