From Chris Stapleton's breakout performance and Reba's red dress to viral skits by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and a visit by a sitting U.S President, the Country Music Association's annual CMA Awards have never been short on milestone moments. As the CMAs mark their 50th anniversary with a grand spectacle on Wednesday, November 2nd, on ABC, we look back at some of the most unforgettable memories in the show's long history.
Merle Haggard was named Entertainer of the Year at the 1970 CMA Awards.
Shania Twain won Entertainer of the Year at the 1999 CMAs, as well as the special International Artist Achievement Award.
Patty Loveless and George Jones share the stage at the 1997 CMA Awards.
Hank Williams Jr. won his first Entertainer of the Year honor at the 1987 ceremonies.
Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton performed a selection from their acclaimed Trio album – which was recently reissued as a deluxe edition – in 1986.
Tim McGraw collected the Album of the Year honor for Everywhere at the 1998 CMA Awards.
Charlie Rich infamously set fire to the envelope after announcing John Denver as the Entertainer of the Year at the 1975 CMA Awards.
Sugarland – Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles – began their five-year run as Vocal Duo of the Year winners in 2007.
Charley Pride won multiple CMA Awards in 1971, including Male Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year – the only black artist to ever win the CMA's top honor.
Taylor Swift was overcome with emotion when she received the 2009 Entertainer of the Year trophy.
In 1991, President George Bush (shown here with Reba McEntire) became the only sitting president to ever attend the CMA Awards.
An august quartet of k.d. lang, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn and Kitty Wells performed the "Honky Tonk Angels Medley" at the 1988 CMAs.
Tammy Wynette was named Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1969 CMA Awards, the second of her three consecutive Female Vocalist victories.
Mary Chapin Carpenter sang her song "Shut Up and Kiss Me" at the 1994 CMAs, with a surprise cameo by Little Richard.
With their victory in 2000, the Dixie Chicks became the first all-female group to win Entertainer of the Year.
Johnny Cash won Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year at the CMA Awards in 1969.
Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart" took the world by storm, winning the CMA Award for Single of the Year in 1992.
The 1991 CMA Awards witnessed the arrival of a major force in country, as Garth Brooks won Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Album (No Fences) and Single of the Year ("Friends in Low Places").
George Strait won his first Entertainer of the Year honor at the 1989 CMA Awards.
In 1972, Loretta Lynn became the first woman to win the CMA Entertainer of the Year honor. The most recent? Taylor Swift in 2011.
Brooks & Dunn became the first duo to win the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year in 1996.
Randy Travis won the CMA Horizon Award in 1986.
Mother and daughter duo the Judds – Naomi and Wynonna – received the Horizon Award in 1984.
Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard appeared together on the 1985 CMA Awards, during which Nelson was honored with a star-studded medley of his songs.
John Anderson took home a pair of CMA Awards in 1983, including Single of the Year for "Swingin'."
New Artist of the Year Kacey Musgraves celebrates her win in 2013.
Keith Urban collected his first-ever Entertainer of the Year trophy at the 2005 CMAs.
Then-couple Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton were the respective winners of Female and Male Vocalist of the Year in 2014.
Barbara Mandrell was named Entertainer of the Year in both 1980 and '81, making her the first back-to-back winner in the category.
Vince Gill stepped into his long-running role as CMAs host for the first time in 1992, co-hosting with Reba McEntire.
Glen Campbell performed with the artists he inspired, from Brad Paisley to Keith Urban, during a special salute in 2011.
The CMA Awards moved to New York City for the first time in their history for the 2005 show, an all-star affair that featured Elton John and Dolly Parton singing "Turn the Lights Out When You Leave."
Reba McEntire turned heads in a now-famous red dress at the 1993 CMAs.
Alison Krauss walked away with four trophies in 1995, including Horizon Award and Female Vocalist honors.
In a performance that fans are still talking about, Justin Timberlake joined CMA breakout star Chris Stapleton for an epic mash-up of "Tennessee Whiskey" and Timberlake's "Drink You Away."
Riding high on the success of their duet "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson re-created the song onstage.
Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie appeared together at the 1984 ceremonies.
Ariana Grande performed her song "Bang Bang" with Little Big Town at the 2014 show.
Gretchen Wilson emerged as the "Redneck Woman" on the 2004 CMAs, winning that year's Horizon Award.
Eric Church, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan teamed up to open the 2012 CMAs with their collaboration "The Only Way I Know."
Loretta Lynn was joined by Sheryl Crow and Miranda Lambert for a run through her signature song "Coal Miner's Daughter" in 2010.
Having just released his debut album the year prior, Jason Aldean performed on the 2006 CMAs.
Ricky Skaggs was named Entertainer of the Year in 1985.
Kellie Pickler's 2007 performance of "I Wonder" was a particularly moving moment of the show, as the singer broke down in tears at its conclusion.
The Eagles made their lone CMA Awards performance in 2007, singing the harmony-heavy "How Long."
Country guitar héros Brad Paisley and Keith Urban performed "Start a Band" on the 2008 CMAs.
Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter performed "You and Tequila" at the CMAs in 2011.
In 2004, Dierks Bentley made his CMA Awards performance debut.
Luke Bryan was named Entertainer of the Year in 2014, receiving the award from Garth Brooks, with whom he competes in this year's race.
Brad Paisley's frequent comedic foil, the late Little Jimmy Dickens, made a memorable appearance during Paisley and Carrie Underwood's opening monologue in 2011.