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Kenny Chesney Receives Pinnacle Award at 2016 CMA Awards

Kenny Chesney 2016 CMA Awards
Gustavo Caballero, Getty Images

Kenny Chesney received the Pinnacle Award at the 2016 CMA Awards.

As the country star walked to the stage to give his acceptance speech, he received a standing ovation from the crowd.

“Thank you so much,” Chesney said. “Standing up here in this spot tonight, looking out at a lot of friends and a lot of heroes that have touched my life in so many ways … Your music, your songs, took a kid from East Tennessee and showed me it was possible.”

Chesney then thanked a whole list of people, including his manager, band, family and road crew. “So many people should be standing up here with me tonight,” he added, before then thanking the CMA for “such an unbelievable honor.”

“When I think about what this means to me, it means connection, with a lot of people that have invested a lot of their life in my music and what we do,” Chesney continued. “To those fans out there we call ‘No Shoes Nation’, I want to thank you for allowing me and my band and my road family to hold your lives in the palm of our hand for a little while.

“I know there’s a responsibility that comes with that, and that’s a responsibility that we all embrace,” he concluded. “Thank you for loving the music. Thanks for giving me an amazing life.”

The Pinnacle Award was presented to Chesney by his friend Peyton Manning, and featured a pre-award video package including performance footage and congratulations from a variety of artists, including Taylor Swift.

According to the CMA, the Pinnacle Award “recognizes an artist who has achieved global prominence through concert performances and record sales at levels unique in country music” and “has also attained the highest degree of recognition within the broad expanse of music worldwide.” Winners’ “talent and presence will have a long-term positive impact on the appreciation of country music for generations to come.” The Pinnacle Award isn’t given out every year; in fact, only Garth Brooks (2005), and Taylor Swift (2013) have previously received the honor.

It’s been a big week for Chesney: On Tuesday night (Nov. 1), at the 2016 BMI Country Awards, Chesney received the President’s Award, which recognizes influential songwriters.

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