Staff Report

A few Orange County folks joined some of the world’s top county music performers on Sunday, April 3, for the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards held in Las Vegas. Ray and Elaine Hearn and Ron Jackson of Bridge City received back stage and party privileges with the stars as a guest of Teresa Hearn George, a Bridge City native and daughter of the Hearns. Today, George is the SVP of Brand Integration & Strategic Partnerships for the Academy of Country Music.

On the day preceding the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards the Orange County group also joined celebrities for the first ever NRA Country/ACM Celebrity Shoot, hosted by Blake Shelton. Shelton also co-hosted the Awards program alongside Reba McEntire.

It was all part of The Week Vegas Goes Country leading up to the star studded award ceremony broadcast live on CBS Television Network from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The Academy of Country Music sold-out two of the largest arenas in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand Garden Arena for the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, and the Mandalay Bay Events Center for the inaugural ACM Fan Jam.

Fans named Taylor Swift Entertainer of the Year, the evening’s biggest honor. This is the first year that Taylor Swift has been named Entertainer of the Year. This year marked a record breaking year with nearly 600,000 fans casting their vote for Entertainer of the Year, making it the largest vote ever for this category.

Swift is the eighth and youngest female to take the award in the 40 year history of this category; previous winners include Loretta Lynn in 1975, Dolly Parton in 1977, Barbara Mandrell in 1980, Reba McEntire in 1994, Shania Twain in 1999, The Dixie Chicks in 2000 and Carrie Underwood in 2008 & 2009. Miranda Lambert won Female Vocalist of the Year and Brad Paisley won Male Vocalist of the Year.

This is Lambert’s second consecutive win as Female Vocalist of the Year and Paisley’s fifth consecutive win as Male Vocalist of the Year. Lambert won four awards during the telecast, making her the night’s top winner. Sugarland won Vocal Duo of the Year; the group who headlined the first-ever ACM Fan Jam accepted their award from the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Lady Antebellum won Vocal Group of the Year; the group’s second consecutive win in this category.

The Band Perry was honored as New Artist of the Year. Nearly 155,000 fans casted their online votes for the New Artist of the Year category, making it the largest fan vote for this category.

The NRA Country/ACM Celebrity Shoot was a 13-station, 50-target sporting clays competition for 19 teams of five shooters—including a celebrity captain—with prizes going to the top three teams. Rascal Flatts’ frontman Gary LeVox and the CPrime Team took first place; Shelton and the Starstruck Team took second; Dave Butz and the Washington Redskins Team took third. The event took place at Nellis Air Force Base.

Additional celebrity participants included:
Jessie Abbate, Lee Brice, Ayla Brown, Luke Bryan, Craig Campbell, Randy Couture, Sarah Darling, Due West, Matt Duff, Edens Edge, Brett Eldredge, Andy Griggs, Julie Ingram, Justin Moore, Montgomery Gentry, Craig Morgan, Jake Owen, Sunny Sweeney, Josh Thompson, Storme Warren, Chuck Wicks and more.