When the Academy of Country Music (ACM) threw legendary duo Brooks & Dunn a televised retirement party in 2010 titled The Last Rodeo, a wide range of country singers dropped by Nashville's Bridgestone Arena to pay their respects. Among them was bespectacled troubadour George Strait. A standout performer in a star-studded crowd and the king of country music, Strait is among the few peers with the showmanship and iconic look of Kix Brooks and the singing talent of Ronnie Dunn. The Texas native wowed both Brooks and Dunn with his upbeat performance of the 1991 line dancing classic "Boot Scootin' Boogie."
Strait definitely doesn't have to be asked twice to "Play Something Country" while whipping a captive crowd into a boot-stompin' frenzy. Brooks chips in on harmonica while Dunn has to laugh to keep from crying over this once-in-a-lifetime performance. It's a special moment for fans of '90s country, featuring three true country rebels.
Other memorable clips from that night's broadcast include Kenny Chesney's cover of "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone," Reba McEntire's fiery take on "Indian Summer," Jason Aldean's interpretation of "How Long Gone," Brad Paisley's honky-tonk rendition of "My Next Broken Heart," Tim McGraw's incredible performance of "That Ain't No Way to Go" and a handful of additional tributes to one of country music's best duos this side of Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Tammy Wynette or Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.
The evening celebrated the group's first retirement and its 20th anniversary as mainstream hit-makers. The country legends have reunited since then, for a run of Las Vegas dates and to participate in the 50th CMA Awards' star-studded "Forever Country" medley.
In all, the evening demonstrated how Brooks & Dunn earned the upmost respect of country star peers like Alan Jackson and Clay Walker while influencing the fast-driving, pop-friendly sound of everyone from Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban to Carrie Underwood, Eric Church and Taylor Swift.
This story originally ran on Aug. 16, 2018.