The show honored musicians, performers, and venues, and is a continuation of the Academy's awards show held every April in Las Vegas.
A rainy evening forced organizers to move the red carpet indoors, but fans still lined the outside of the Ryman Auditorium in hopes of seeing their favorite stars.
"We're just trying to get a glimpse of someone famous," said Janice Walters, a loyal country music fan. "We want someone to come by and talk to us."
Dierks Bentley hosted the event for the second year in a row, and said it's always something he looks forward to.
"It's so special as far as honoring who is who in country music, and not just who is current," said Bentley. "This is all about who makes Music City go 'round."
Other musicians agreed the event is unique.
"I love that we are taking a minute to honor people behind the scenes as well as people like George Jones and Keith Whitley," said Chris Young.
"It's really exciting to be honored and to be in a room with so many other great artists," said Charles Kelley with Lady Antebellum.
Some of the big winners were Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, and The Judds. Keith Whitley and Hank Williams were honored posthumously. The Ryman Auditorium was also honored as venue of the year.