George Strait and Garth Brooks paid an emotional tribute to a fallen friend and it still brings a tear to our eye YouTube
George Strait, left, and Garth Brooks perform "Cowboy Rides Away" at the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 7, 2013. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The Rare Country Awards honor the year?s best in country music as determined by fans. George Strait is nominated for male artist of the year. Cast your vote at RareCountryAwards.comWinners to be announced Dec. 15.

Garth Brooks has won more ACM Entertainer of the Year trophies than any other artist in history.

Even with that honor, there is one man that has reigned over the ACM Awards even larger and longer than Garth, but fans know him for a different musical show.

For decades, the name Dick Clark was synonymous with “American Bandstand” and the nation’s New Year’s celebration in Times Square via “Dick Clark?s Rockin? Eve.” Yet few fans ever noticed the company that produced the ACM Awards since 1979 was none other than Dick Clark Productions.

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The ACM?s and Dick Clark were partners until Clark?s death in 2012. Being as he passed after that year’s show, it wasn?t until 2013 until the Academy of Country Music could give Dick a proper goodbye.

As Garth was on the cusp of returning from retirement, he and George Strait, who was ironically on the cusp of entering retirement himself, came together to sing a medley of their songs ?The Dance? and ?The Cowboy Rides Away? in front of rolling photos of their friend and colleague Dick Clark.

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Dick is gone and George has retired, but Garth is back and nominated once again for, you guessed it, the ACM Entertainer of the Year award.

Based in Chicago but often in Nashville, Ken Churilla is a contributor for Rare Country. Follow him @KenChurilla and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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