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ENCINO, Calif. — In a seemingly natural marketing connection between country music and pickup trucks, the Ram Truck brand will be behind the the first "text-to-vote" for one of the evening's biggest winners at the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards — the fan-voted category of Entertainer of the Year.

The ceremony, which honors country music's top talent as well as the industry's hottest emerging artists, is produced for television by Dick Clark Productions and will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday. Reba McEntire is the host.

This partnership with the Academy of Country Music is part of the 2010 Ram heavy-duty truck's advertising and marketing campaign launch.

During the show, for the first time fans can use text messages to vote for the award. Nominees for Entertainer of the Year include Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, the Zac Brown Band and Carrie Underwood, who won last year's award.

At the start of the show, codes for each nominee will be given out and voting will commence, running until the program's third hour.

During the show, fans can also vote via www.voteacm.com, which includes Ram sponsorship, as well.

"We know every aspect of the Ram truck customer and we know that country is among their favorite genres of music to listen to while driving in their Ram truck or having fun with their family," explained Fred Diaz, president and chief executive officer of the Ram Truck brand at Chrysler. 

"We made a commitment to connect with our customers, and what better way than through music and the iconic Academy of Country Music Awards," he continued.   

Bob Romeo, executive director of the Academy of Country Music, added: "The Academy strives to expand the reach of country music by finding new ways to engage fans and consumers.

"We have had tremendous success incorporating fan voting into our awards show and are thrilled to partner with the distinguishable, country-friendly Ram Truck brand to give fans an immediate, interactive awards show experience through text voting for Entertainer of the Year," he concluded.