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Garth Brooks is named entertainer of the year at the CMA Awards

 (Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)
(Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)

Referring to presenter Reba McEntire as "the entertainer of a lifetime," Garth Brooks accepted the award for entertainer of the year at Wednesday's CMA Awards, claiming Nashville's highest honor for the second year in a row.

Earlier in the night, Brooks' chances seemed to slim as upstart Chris Stapleton took two high-profile categories, album of the year (for his "From a Room: Volume 1") and male vocalist of the year.

But in the end the CMA went with the popular country veteran, who returned to full-scale touring in 2014 after a long hiatus and released his most recent studio album, "Gunslinger," last year.

"We're family," Brooks told the crowd at the Bridgestone Arena, reiterating an idea the show's host, Carrie Underwood, had laid out at the beginning of the three-hour production.

"The most important thing, other than God himself, are you, the people that allow us to be in the greatest music ever: country music, man."

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