Garth Brooks was crowned Entertainer of the Year at the 2016 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 2). It's an accomplishment he told reporters that he was surprised to receive, and he “kind of went numb when they called my name.”

“When we left, I never thought I’d get to come back,” Brooks says of his retirement from country music in 2000 (quote via the Boot.) “And then, when you come back, you never think you’re going to get to hold one of these again.”

The country icon believes that awards are often bestowed on the younger artists, and the older acts are usually left empty-handed.

“Awards are for younger artists; they just are,” Brooks adds. “People think it’s the other way around, that the older you get, the more ordinary it gets, [but] it’s exactly the opposite. We were lucky enough to have the largest tour in the world at the end of the ‘90s, which garnered us two of these. Good Lord willing, if everything keeps going, we’re going to break that record here in the next month or so.”

During his acceptance speech Wednesday, Brooks thanked all of those involved with his current world tour, as well as noting his love for his wife and tourmate, Trisha Yearwood.

“Thank you to the coolest touring mate you could ever ask for, the love of my life, the breath I breathe in and out,” he said at the podium. “It could not have been any better for me — I get to take you home.”

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