The Golden Boot Awards, The Boot’s fan-voted digital awards, are back for a third year in 2016. Each of this year's eight categories features staff-selected nominees who made waves in the country music world from May 2015 through April 2016. Readers can vote for their favorites in each category as often as once per hour through 11:59PM ET on June 5. We'll announce the winners on the site the following Monday (June 6).

The past year has included a lot of memorable moments -- some good, some devastating, some downright surprising.

When Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert announced their divorce in July of 2015, country music lovers experienced a collective heartbreak. Although it happened quickly because of their prenup, it still left country fans in shock. But when Joey Feek of Joey + Rory revealed the news of her cervical cancer's, it was a devastating blow for her husband, her family and her fans. And while her death following her months-long fight wasn't necessarily shocking, it was still upsetting; however, what's perhaps most memorable about her ordeal is the faith and hope she and her husband displayed throughout it.

Merle Haggard’s death on April 6, 2016, meanwhile, came after a short battle with pneumonia. It's inevitable that everyone on this earth will, eventually, pass away, but Haggard's legendary status in country music often made it feel as though he'd live forever, so the news felt surreal in some ways. On a happier surreal note, there were the 2015 CMA Awards -- specifically, Chris Stapleton's triumphs. The singer won New Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, for Traveller, and Male Vocalist of the Year -- and gave hope to all of the country music fans hoping for the return of a more traditional sound.

Then there was Eric Church’s surprise albumMr. Misunderstood, distributed first to his fan club. It's not every day that a country superstar drops a surprise like that! And speaking of surprises, it was a big one when George Strait announced that he'd be playing a run of Las Vegas concerts, despite his retirement from touring.

Please note: Cheating will not be tolerated, and any voter found to be cheating will have their votes disqualified. A captcha has been put in place to prevent cheating. If you cannot read the captcha, press the top blue button next to it to refresh to a new one, or press the middle blue button to have the polling system read the captcha to you.