New Yorkers anticipated the arrival of the Country Music Association Awards wagon train with apprehension first the Republican National Convention, now this? But the CMA red carpet at Madison Square Garden Nov. 15 ushered in a group of exceedingly polite and pretty durn attractive folks, all thrilled to be in the Big Apple. ''I'm scared to ask my wife about the credit card bills, 'cause she's been uptown at Saks the last couple days,'' moaned past CMA winner Tracy Lawrence. ''Pray for me.'' Spanning the spectrum from rhinestone cowboy to runway diva LeAnn Rimes in Marc Jacobs! Horizon Award winner Dierks Bentley in skull jewelry! the country stars proved just as diverse as the city itself, and now we kinda feel bad for stereotyping everyone. (Psst: Nice eight-inch belt buckle, Cowboy Troy. Way to keep it real.) Opry vet Lorrie Morgan whose white Eavis & Brown lace gown and beaded collar pierced a Loretta Lynn-esque beacon through the herd of satin couture summed it up. ''People perceived us for so many years as hay bales,'' she said. ''We're everything from Armani to Levi's. It's gaud. It's fun. We try and take it to the max.''