Southern stars took Nashville by storm for the 47th annual Country Music Association Awards, complete with chicken-fried performances from the Zak Brown Band. And to the left of the stage, just 15-rows up into the audience sat two country music fans from the Queen City.
Back in September, Channel 7 hosted a contest to win two tickets to the CMA Awards. The trip included round-trip airfare to Nashville, hotel accomodations, tickets to the Country Music Hall of Fame and a CMA gift bag with collectibles signed by country artists. On Good Morning, we announced Dennis Longo as the winner of the ultimate prize package, and to make the surprise even more exciting, he and his wife had a lot to celebrate. The couple just shared another wedding anniversary.
"I was totally excited when I found out and now that the show is here, I just still can’t believe I was there," Longo said.
The Longo's left the hotel early to get to their seats right on time. Dennis said the experience was unlike any other.
"From the opening act of Luke Bryan to George Strait becoming 'Entertainer of the Year', every act was amazing. Not one act was better than the other."
For years the couple has shared in the southern-studded night, but only from the comfort of their own home. He says all the singers give off a "down-to-Earth" persona. Longo loves the connection these musical artists have with their fans, and he felt the connection come to life last night.
"I watch the show every year and think one of these days I’d love to be there. Tonight was the night and it’s been an amazing experience," Longo said.
Not only did our winners enjoy their night, so did the stars. The legendary George Strait won the Country Music Association's grand prize: Entertainer of the Year. Strait said his win came as a complete shock. Blake Shelton and his wife, Miranda Lambert, both walked away award-winners.
As for southern belle and star Taylor Swift, she came in with six nominations and left with a very special award: the Pinnacle Award, given to the artist that takes country music to a worldwide audience. Garth Brooks also won that award Back in 2005.
Here's a complete list of last night's winners:
Music Video of the Year - "Highway Don't Care" Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
Single of the Year - "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line
Vocal Duo of the Year - Florida Georgia Line
Musician of the Year - Mac McAnally
New Artist of the Year - Kacey Musgraves
Album of the Year - Blake Shelton "Based on a True Story"
Vocal Group of the Year - Little Big Town
Female Vocalist of the Year - Miranda Lambert
Male Vocalist of the Year - Blake Shelton
Entertainer of the Year - George Straight