"There's not a more genuine guy out there, and to be such a bad-ass on the snow makes that even cooler," Rucker said. "I'm really excited to see how his competitions go leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Stay safe, Tuck, we'll be cheering for you."
Perkins, 22, has known Rucker since he was 3 years old. Perkins' dad and Rucker, who previously was lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, became friends at a golf tournament. And the families have been close ever since.
"Darius has been a great mentor to me and a good buddy for all these years," Perkins said. "He has always been supportive of what I do, and I've been very supportive of him."
Perkins knows that it's going to be difficult this afternoon in Aspen, Colo., as he's returning from a major knee surgery in the spring.
"I've only been in the halfpipe four times in the past 11 months. Cramming for this is an understatement," Perkins said. "My goal is to just make the finals and see what happens. I need to make three consistent runs. That's a super realistic goal."
And, in four or five years, don't be surprised to see Tucker focusing on music and maybe be out there with Rucker.
"Music is such a part of my life," he said. "I always travel with my bass guitar. I jam all the time."