The country music community is saluting 2013's most successful stars. 

Jason Aldean is one of this year's CMT Artists of the Year, and the only recipient who's been recognized every year since the event began in 2010.  In accepting his award, the singer said the CMT ceremony gives him a chance to show respect to those who paved the way for him - like fellow honoree Tim McGraw - as well as those who are following him.

Some "buddies" Aldean mentioned by name included fellow honorees Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, while Hunter Hayes was also among this year's recipients. 

The star-packed celebration featured tributes and performances, including a few collaborations.  Peter Frampton, who presented the award to Hayes, added guitar to Lady Antebellum's salute to McGraw. 

Travis Tritt and Cassadee Pope performed in honor of Aldean, while Train's Pat Monahan joined Hayes for a special performance. 

Bryan closed the show - but not with any of his hits.  He shared the spotlight with Lionel Richie to sing two of Richie's songs.  Blue Collar Comedy star Ron White brought the humor as the official host of the show, while he and "Anchorman" Ron Burgundy - played by Will Ferrell - engaged in a battle over which "Ron" should be at the helm. 

The CMT Artists of the Year special aired live on CMT from Nashville Tuesday night. 

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