Technically, Luke Combs didn’t win the CMA Award for entertainer of the year on Wednesday night (Nov. 13), and yet, he was still winning.

Because as Garth Brooks accepted that particular trophy, he said that the award had Combs’ name on it down the road. And to Combs, that alone felt like a win.

“I grew up listening to Garth. I know every song by heart. And for him to say something like that is pretty unreal. And the pressure is on,” Combs said backstage after picking up his awards for male vocalist and song of the year.

And it was the latter award that meant the most to Combs, he said, because he wanted it for his guys: his “Beautiful Crazy” co-writers Wyatt Durrette and Robert Williford.

“I wanted it for these guys. You know, I get to be on stage and and talk and be heard all the time. But the people who help me do that don’t necessarily always get the credit that I feel like they deserve. And tonight,” he said, “two great people have gotten exactly what they deserve. And I’m so proud to call these guys really great friends.”

Taking home two CMA Awards made Combs one of the night’s biggest winners (it’s a tie between Combs and Kacey Musgraves) and that’s not lost on him. In fact, it hasn’t even really sunk in yet.

“I don’t know if I’ve even begun to process what it means or how I feel about it yet. Thankful is a word that comes to mind: to have my parents here, my fiance, my friends, my entire team and crew and from labels to managers and friends. It’s just an absolute dream come true. Something that I thought would never ever happen to a guy like me, especially not this fast.”

After the show, Combs said his plan was to celebrate, celebrate and celebrate. But he’s also making plans to have an attitude of gratitude come Thanksgiving.

“I’m gonna celebrate. I’m gonna have a good time tonight with with (Nicole) and with my parents and my buddies right here. And you know, we’ve got three sold-out shows this weekend. I got four shows next week and then I’ve got Thanksgiving.

“So I think Thanksgiving will be a time to really reflect with my parents, her parents, her sister,” he said, “just having the immediate family there. I think that will be really special. And I’m looking forward to it.”

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Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.