By Courtney E. Smith

It’s been a heck of a year for George Strait, but let’s not kid around. The fact he was named one of this year’s five Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year nominees is really in celebration of his entire career.

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After Strait announced that 2013 and ’14 would be when the Cowboy Rides Away, a.k.a. when he stops touring, the whole of country music went into a bit of a funk. But we cheered right back up when he hit the road — and cheered again when he revealed he’d be out with special guests like Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and many, many more.

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From the 60 for 60 campaign, which helped land him his 60th No. 1 hit with “Give It All We Got Tonight,” to the release of his album Love Is Everything, to being the recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Founders Award, 2013 actually was very good to George Strait. Watch our video (above) to learn even more about what led to Strait’s ACM Entertainer of the Year nomination.

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The 49th ACM Awards will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 8pm ET on CBS.