March 26, 1998 12:00 AM

Lee Ann Womack and the Dixie Chicks both took triple crowns at Wednesday’s 36th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, while Toby Keith (“How Do You Like Me Now?!”) earned his first two ACM awards in a nearly 10-year career, including one for album of the year. Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sellers’s crossover hit “I Hope You Dance” was named single record of the year and song of the year. The ditty was also named vocal event of the year, presented to Womack and Sons of the Desert. Last year’s event winners, Clint Black and Lisa Hartman-Black, couldn’t be at Wednesday’s ceremony because of the birth of their baby girl the night before, it was announced. The evening’s emotional peak came when Kenny Rogers and the retired Barbara Mandrell accepted awards for their career achievements. Rogers thanked his wife Wanda from the stage, and she smiled back from the audience. “Wanda was with me when nobody cared,” he announced. “That was a long time, wasn’t it?” For complete ACM Awards coverage, click here

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