- Associated Press - Sunday, April 3, 2011

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The biggest names in country music converged in Las Vegas Sunday hoping to get lucky at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards _ and win big on the nearby casino floors.

Husband and wife singers Joey + Rory, who won top new vocal duo in 2010, were trying their luck again this year at the blackjack table.

“I’m pretty much addicted to gambling,” said Rory Lee Feek on the red carpet outside the award show at the MGM Grand hotel and casino, his arms wrapped around his wife’s waist.

“That’s why I don’t give him any cash,” Joey Martin quipped.

Darius Rucker said his time in Sin City had been divided between the rehearsal stage, a golf course and “gambling too much.”

Jason Aldean, an entertainer of the year nominee, said he was up $3,000 after a stint on the casino floor.

Then there was Randy Rogers of the Randy Rogers Band, who was having some trouble getting into a Las Vegas state of a mind.

“This year’s been lame. I wish I had a better story,” said Rogers, whose band was nominated for their third top vocal group award. “I was in bed by 11:30 last night.”

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Country music maverick Eric Church, whose songs about teen pregnancy and marijuana have raised eyebrows, said he owed his career to his mother.

“She believed in me musically before anyone did, even my dad,” he jested. “You still have to convince him.”

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John Rich of Big & Rich is promising a shocker on “Celebrity Apprentice” that will make The Donald’s hair stand up.

“You are going to see a curveball that you’ve never seen on ‘The Apprentice,’ even Trump didn’t see it coming,” he said.

Rich is trying to become the top earner in “Celebrity Apprentice” history. He is on the show raising money for St. Jude’s Hospital.

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