The King of Country, George Strait, made a rare trip back to the press room after winning Entertainer of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday (7) night.

The first question was, of course, if he regretted decided to retire from touring. “No, I really think I made the right choice,” he said.  He does plan to continue recording and will play one-off dates, but “The Cowboy Rides Away” tour signals an end to his major tour runs.
He laughed about beating younger whippersnappers like Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, probably all of whom opened for him along their rise.

Strait, who, with more than 55 No. 1 songs, has landed at the top of the Billboard charts more than any other artist, including The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, also addressed being a hero to a newer generation. “I know that I had my heroes growing up in country music, like Merle Haggard… I haven’t seen him at one of these shows in so long… I gotta feel maybe it’s something like that, the way I looked up to Merle Haggard and George Jones, not that I’m comparing myself to them at all.”

He then went on to talked about the tremendous influence Haggard, who received the Crystal Award at the ACMs, had on him and his career.

Also, around the 4-minute mark, you’ll hear someone scream, “I love you, congrats!”  That was no ordinary fan, it was Kacey Musgraves, who had to express her appreciation for fellow Texan, Strait. As always, Strait, gently laughed and carried right on.