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Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith + More Emerge as Early 2014 ACMs Award Winners

Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith
Mireya Acierto/Jason Merritt, Getty Images

The Academy of Country Music has announced the winners of non-televised awards for the 49th annual ACM Awards, and they include Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and many other country favorites.

‘American Idol’ winner and superstar Underwood is the recipient of the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, following in the footsteps of past winners like Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson and George Strait, to name a few. This trophy acknowledges “unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music,” which the songstress has certainly marked over the past year and in her career as a whole. Not only is she a rare ACM Tripe Crown recipient, but the hitmaker also completed a phenomenal Blown Away Tour and wowed viewers on NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ and NBC’s ‘The Sound of Music.

Toby Keith and Ronnie Milsap are recipients of the Career Achievement Award, which honors an individual artist, duo, group or multiple artist collaboration that has advanced the popularity and acceptance of country music. Keith’s impact on country music has been prevalent ever since ‘Should’ve Been a Cowboy’ in 2003. With 20 No. 1 country singles under his belt, he’s also been active in several other endeavors — movie roles, restaurants and USO tours are just a few of his many contributions to the world around him.

Haggard is recipient of the Crystal Milestone Award, commemorating the specific, remarkable achievement of 50 years in country music. Country music is heard worldwide, thanks to people like Rascal Flatts and Steve Buchanan, who have been chosen to receive the Jim Reeves International Award, which is given to an artist for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.

Jack Clement (awarded posthumously), Dean Dillon, Kristofferson and Buck Owens (awarded posthumously) are recipients of the Poet’s Award, which honors their outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions to the field of country music.

Additionally, Bob Beckham, who passed away in 2013, has been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, which spotlights pioneers in the country music genre. The Mae Boren Axton Award will be given to Paul Moore this year, recognizing years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music.

The 2014 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.

Next: See a Full List of 2014 ACM Awards Nominees

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