George Strait, Garth Brooks Pay Tribute To Dick Clark At 2013 ACM Awards

George Strait and Garth Brooks paid tribute to Dick Clark during Sunday night’s 2013 ACM Awards. Reba McEntire introduced the pair and also announced the renaming of the Academy’s most prestigious award.

Along with paying tribute to Clark, the pair’s performance was also noteworthy. It was the first time Strait and Brooks shared the stage together, despite performing for more than two decades.

Both artists have received the artist of the decade award, which was renamed in Clark’s honor. Clark, a TV and radio personality who was also the longtime producer of the ACM Awards, passed away on April 12, 2012.

The tribute to Clark was beautifully understated, starting with country superstar Reba. The singer and TV show star took the stage to a standing ovation and wiped away tears as she joked, “[Dick Clark] would slap me if he saw me crying out here right now.”

Clark’s son, R.A., took over the rains as executive producer of the ACMs. He also personally contacted George Strait and Garth Brooks to ask them about performing in the special tribute. R.A. revealed:

“I personally reached out with handwritten notes to both guys. I’ve been thinking about this over the last year since my father passed away.”

And it was an excellent choice. Garth Brooks started the tribute with his song, “The Dance.” Then, Strait joined him onstage so the pair could play the icon’s 1985 hit “The Cowboy Rides Away.” Both songs were incredibly appropriate, given what Dick Clark did for the country music community.

George Strait recently announced his retirement from full-time tours, though he said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of performing special shows, like the one he gave at the ACM Awards on Sunday. Garth Brooks has also been relatively silent in the country music community. His last record was released in 2007 and his last single in 2010.

What did you think of George Strait and Garth Brooks’ performance during Sunday’s ACM Awards?

[Image via Twitter]