In a prepared statement, Toby Keith explained why he didn't accept his ACM entertainer of the year award in person: "One of the good things about awards shows is getting to see your friends.
I didn't think I had any kind of shot at winning entertainer
of the year, so I took advantage of a rare opportunity to write a song with Willie Nelson. I was with Willie working on a
song and singing and picking when I found out I had won. Honestly, if I had thought I was going to win, I would have been
on stage to accept this prestigious award and to thank my Lord God Almighty, my family, my fans, my management, the folks
at DreamWorks Records, country radio and the Academy of Country Music." 5/22/03