A shocked Ashley explained what the honor meant to her:
“This is a lifelong… I mean, this is, there’s Grammy’s, there’s being a member of the Grand Ole Opry are the two greatest things that could ever happen to you as an entertainer.
And I’ve always said I will earn it, and this is a pretty surreal moment.”
Well tonight, during her 22nd appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, Ashley’s dream came true as she was finally inducted as the newest member of the country music institution.
After being joined by Terri Clark for a performance of her incredible hit “Girl Goin’ Nowhere,” Clark was given the honor of formally making a tearful Ashley a member of the Opry:
“Ashley, the first time I saw you sing “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” was on this stage. And right after you were finished, and there was a standing ovation, you knelt down and you kissed that circle that you were standing in.
And right then I think we all knew that you belonged here.
We’ve been friends for several years now – five, I think – and I have witnessed such a reverence and respect for the Opry, the music, and the artists that came before you, and you are a perfect fit to be here and be inducted tonight.
To me, the Opry is about family. It is a family. And my sister, you have earned your place at the table more than anybody I know.
And I know that I, along with all of your fans, and all of your peers, and your mom and your dad and your family, everybody that’s here tonight, have been patiently waiting to hear the words:
Congratulations Ashley McBryde. You are officially a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”
Ashley then addressed the crowd for the first time as a Grand Ole Opry member:
“You ever have moments where you’re speaking to someone, at a dinner conversation or anywhere, and you have this moment of, “How is this real life right now?”
That’s how it is to say that Terri Clark is one of my dearest friends.
I went to my dressing room to finish touch ups after I had already begun crying, and Wynonna walked into my dressing room. I said “I can’t believe you’re here.”
She said “I had to be here. I had to support you.”
How is that real life? And I said, “Why do we do that to ourselves? We just stand here and cry.”
And she said, “Because what we do is important.”
It is important what we do. And this moment is the biggest of my life.
And if it is your first time to be in the Grand Ole Opry, this is what it feels like every time you’re here. It looks like it’s made of brick and mortar but it is pure, pure love. That is what you’re experiencing here.
So thank you. I know what this means, I know what my responsibilities are. I take them seriously. And God bless country music.”