Footage of the induction can be seen at opry.com. (Media download information: opry.com/pressroom/darius)
Presenting Rucker with the Opry Member Award, Gill said, “I don’t think there’s a more beloved guy in our music than you. … Before you even open your mouth and sing a song you’ve written, everybody is really crazy about you. You will find this place right here to be one of the greatest homes you’ll ever have. … Thanks for wanting to be a country music singer!”
A tearful Rucker responded to Gill’s words and a standing ovation from the audience, saying, “Thank you very much. … I was sitting in here at rehearsals today, and there was nobody in here, and I looked up in the stands. I thought to myself, ‘Somewhere in those stands right now my mom is looking at me.’ And it just blew me away to be here today. …This means more to me than I could ever say to you.”
Afterwards, Rucker and the audience watched a clip on the Opry’s barn screen of Opry member Keith Urban sending his congratulations “from Las Vegas.” To the delight of both Rucker and the audience, Urban then appeared on stage to offer his congratulations live and in person.
Among others on hand were members of Rucker’s family and friends, including Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino, who appeared on stage with Rucker to conclude the show.
After the induction, Rucker added a plaque bearing his name to the Opry Member Gallery backstage at the Opry House.