NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 2 -- George Strait was the top winner Wednesday of three prizes, including male vocalist of the year, at the 30th Annual Country Music Association Awards held at the Grand Ole Opry. Brooks & Dunn took home two trophies, including the coveted entertainer of the year honor. They also won vocal duo of the year for an unprecedented fifth time. The reclusive Strait typically shies away from awards ceremonies, but he stole the CMA spotlight when he won three of the five categories for which he was nominated. In addition to male vocalist, Strait took single of the year for his No. 1 hit 'Check Yes Or No' and album of the year for 'Blue Clear Sky,' which borrows its title from the script of the hit movie 'Forrest Gump.' Strait performed the title track during the show. 'I almost cried awhile ago and I never do that,' Strait said backstage after accepting the male vocalist award. 'It has been awhile since I've walked up those steps and won an award here.' Strait last won a CMA trophy in 1990, when he was named entertainer of the year for the second consecutive time. He also won male vocalist honors in 1985 and 1986. In addition to their historical win in the vocal duo category, Ronnie Brooks and Kix Dunn became only the second group in CMA history to win entertainers of the year, with Alabama claiming the award from 1982 to 1984. 'It was looking like George Strait night,' Brooks said backstage after the awards ceremony.
Strait beat the pair in the single and album categories, and they also went head to head for entertainer of the year. Brooks & Dunn earlier this year picked up entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards. In one of the least predictable categories Wednesday, Patty Loveless won female vocalist of the year. 'I've been making records for 10 years,' she said, 'and waiting for this moment for a long time.' Vince Gill, who hosted the CBS telecast, added two CMA trophies to his record collection of 15. Gill's Grammy-winning ballad, 'Go Rest High On That Mountain,' written in memory of his brother, was voted song of the year. He shared vocal event of the year honors with Dolly Parton for her No. 1 song 'I Will Always Love You,' which Parton first released in 1974 and re-released in 1995 as a duet with Gill. 'How many things can this song win?' Parton said as she accepted her award. 'Ain't you sick of this song?' Pop star Whitney Houston also had a huge hit and won many awards with her rendition of it for the soundtrack from her 1992 film, 'The Bodyguard.' Ray Price, Buck Owens and the late Patsy Montana were inducted into the Hall of Fame. 'It's about time. I was beginning to feel like Susan Lucci,' said Price, 70, referring to the soap star's infamous multiple losses at the Daytime Emmys. The three-hour show typically is heavy on performances and this year's event was no exception, with more than 20 artists singing, including all the nominees in single, male vocalist and female vocalist categories. Highlights included the show's opening number by LeAnn Rimes, who sang her No. 1 song, 'Blue.' Rimes at 14 is the youngest artist ever nominated for a CMA Award. She was nominated in the single of the year category for 'Blue' as well as CMA's Horizon Award for newcomers, which went to Bryan White. Pop singer Michael Bolton showed up to sing a duet with Wynonna, 'Baby This Is The Time.' Backstage, a reporter questioned Wynonna about the fact that she wasn't wearing her wedding rings. 'I forgot them. I am not getting a divorce,' she shot back, denying a recent tabloid headline.