Rascal Flatts have been nominated for more than 30 major awards, including 19 CMA Awards, throughout their career. Of those 19 CMA Awards nominations, the country trio has taken home seven trophies. While Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney admit it's nice to be in the running, they acknowledge it's even better to win.

"I think, first of all, that people are full of s--t that say that it’s just an honor to be nominated. I think everybody wants to win," DeMarcus told The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. "But it is an honor to be thought of year after year for 17 years straight."

In spite of releasing Changed in 2012 and Rewind in 2014, and having several Top 20 hits, the Flatts failed to receive any CMA Awards nods from 2012 to 2014. Although some may have considered the omission a setback, the trio used it as motivation to work harder than ever before.

"It kind of dawned on us that, I think, you can get so used to it, and ... we were like, ‘What are we doing wrong?’" DeMarcus explains. "It was a great way for us to gut-check ourselves and figure out if there were things we could do different, if there were other things that we could do in addition to what we were doing. It put us in a place where, while it’s an honor to be nominated and thought of, when that goes away, it becomes glaringly obvious that changes need to be made ... So we took a look at ourselves and tried to figure it out."

At the 2017 CMA Awards, Rascal Flatts are nominated for Vocal Group of the Year, a category they have been nominated in 13 times. They've won the Vocal Group honor six times.

"It makes you feel great to know that your counterparts and people in the business recognize what you’re doing. It means a lot," says LeVox. "It doesn’t mean everything, but whenever you get nominated and you’re sitting out there, the anticipation of that, and having the opportunity or the chance to maybe win -- and then if you do win, those are feelings and places that you snapshot and you time-capsule in your mind, and it just means everything at that time."

See the Rascal Flatts Guys + More Country Stars Then and Now

Because Rascal Flatts found so much success at the beginning of their career -- their first 14 singles landing in the Top 10, and "Bless the Broken Road" became a hit at both country and pop radio (and earned them their first of four Grammys to date) -- the guys had little chance to savor their sweet success.

"We won so much early on that I wish we could have soaked up those moments a little more," LeVox acknowledges. "Our career was flying and so, to be at this point in our career and still just having a blast and still being nominated and still getting in there and having a chance to win is a blast -- it’s super exciting. The performance part is always a blast, anytime you’re on an awards show and making something special. But to be in the class, it’s an honor."

In fact, in the beginning, Rascal Flatts were so busy worrying about being able to continue to make music, after quitting their jobs to devote themselves full-time to their fledgling career, that they didn't have time to wonder if anyone else was appreciating their efforts.

"Our biggest goal at that point in time was just to get to the point to be able to make a second record," DeMarcus recounts. "We were fighting for our lives, and Gary and I were living in a one-bedroom apartment and broke."

Throughout their years together, Rascal Flatts have had their hands in plenty of other projects, including appearing together in Hannah Montana: The Movie and in an episode of CSI; DeMarcus has also produced projects for other artists and is producing an upcoming film, All Shook Up. Still, it's music that ignited the fire in them more than 20 years ago, and it's music that will remain their first love.

"It’s about cutting music," LeVox says. "We just had a dream, and that was it. So, there’s just no way we could even fathom all of the wonderful blessings that we’ve been given."

Adds Rooney, "I think when you’re starting out and your song’s going up the charts ... you’re just blown away that you’ve got something being played on the radio ... You’re so hungry; it’s like tunnel vision. There’s no way we could have seen this all coming. We were just working hard, just trying to win over some fans."

The 2017 CMA Awards are scheduled to air on ABC on Nov. 8, at 8PM ET; the ceremony will take place live at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will host the ceremony for the 10th year in a row.

The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2017 CMA Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest CMAs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.

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