Country music veteran GEORGE STRAIT has picked up the first prize at this year's (08) CMA Awards in Nashville, Tennessee.
Strait claimed Single of The Year for I Saw God Today to kick off the 42nd prizegiving, hosted by singers Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood at the Sommet Center.
Four-time nominee Paisley got the event going when he performed Start A Band with Nicole Kidman's country star husband Keith Urban. It marked the first time the duo had performed the new track together live.
Paisley was also an early prize winner, claiming the Music Video of The Year for Waitin' On a Woman.
Other big winners in the first hour of the Country Music Association Awards included Sugarland, who claimed the Song of The Year prize for Stay and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (Musical Event of The Year for Gone, Gone, Gone).