Nominees for the Special Awards are selected by the Special Awards Selection Committee from a list of nominees. This committee is appointed by the IBMA board chairperson. The five committee members are IBMA professional members who have at least ten years’ experience in bluegrass music and have significant knowledge of the history of the music.
The committee actively seeks out potential honorees, soliciting candidates from IBMA members. They compile a list of of potential candidates from these recommendations, and from recommendations by the selection committee members.
The committee convenes in a timely way to review all candidates (usually in June or July). By majority vote, they select the final five nominees per category.
Those nominees are sent via ballot to the Panel of Electors. This panel – over 200 of the most respected names in the bluegrass music industry – then votes to determine the single recipient for each of the Special Awards.