George Strait Takes Home 2013 CMA Entertainer of the Year Award

Country Legend Was Saluted by Fellow Artists Backstage

One of the biggest moments during Wednesday night’s (Nov. 6) CMA Awards was the announcement of George Strait as entertainer of the year. With few dry eyes in the room, Strait made his way to the stage appearing stunned.

The humbled legend addressed the press afterward, still elated.

“I was just really, really happy to be nominated again for entertainer this year,” Strait admitted. “It meant a lot to me. I thought there was an outside shot, but not really, seriously. Obviously, I didn’t prepare anything to say, but I’m blown away by this.”

Following the show, Strait was greeted with numerous heartfelt congratulations and great respect from many in the country family.

“It’s nice to have the younger artists come up and say, ‘My gosh, you were an influence on my music’ … because I know I had heroes, too, when I was starting out. So it’s nice to hear that stuff. It’s very humbling.”

“I was standing with Faith Hill with our arms around each other crying — if that answers your question,” replied Taylor Swift when asked for her reaction to Strait’s win. “We were so happy because both of us opened up for him. And I was just having all these memories of these moments and these flashbacks.

“One time [Strait] showed up to my show in Texas, like one of my first headline shows, just to say good luck. It was right after I opened up for him in 2008 or 2007, and I was 17 or 18. And he and [wife] Norma came to the show just to say, ‘Good luck on your first headlining show.’ That’s just the kind of artist he is. When you’re that kind of a person and you win something, everybody is cheering for you and people are crying. And that’s the kind of legacy you want to leave.”

Swift, along with 2012 entertainer of the year Blake Shelton, were two of the night’s other big winners. Though Shelton says he had expected to pass the entertainer of the year award to someone new, he couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

“He’s not just entertainer of the year,” Shelton said. “He’s entertainer of the last four decades. He’s King George.”

For more, tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown this Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 9-10) at 11 a.m. ET/PT, and check out CMT.com’s complete coverage of the 47th annual CMA Awards.