As previously reported, the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards aired live from Las Vegas Sunday night, and several Oklahoma superstars won, performed or presented during the three-hour telecast.
But the highlight of the evening came when Oklahoman Garth Brooks and Texan George Strait — the last two winners of the ACM Artist of the Decade Award — performed together for the first time. The star-studded crowd gave the long-semi-retired Brooks an extended standing ovation as the Owasso resident belted his classic “The Dance.” He then joined Strait on the latter’s venerable hit “The Cowboy Rides Away.”
The performance was a tribute to the show’s former longtime producer Dick Clark, who died last year. Oklahoma native Reba McEntire, the show’s former longtime host, explained that the Artist of the Decade Award has been renamed in honor of the entertainment impresario.
“He was responsible for bringing the ACMs to television and turning them into a world-class event,” the teary-eyed Reba said. “He was always there with a word of advice or a pat on the back. He even ran out here several times to save my butt when I got in a jam. I’ll never forget him. Ever.”
For more on the ACM Awards, check out my live blog by clicking here.
And check out these Associated Press photos of the tribute: