CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A staple of the Buc Days Parade you’re guaranteed to see are the people in their traditional white jumpsuits. We know them as Bucaraders. They're the volunteers that help put the parade together.
“This started years ago when the parades weren’t starting on time," Turner Moller said, a Bucrader in his 51st year. "And the powers that be at the Buc Commission decided that we needed a separate organization to put on the parades.”
Moller and Wayne Pearson are long time volunteers with the duty of keeping the public safe and ensuring family fun during the parade.
“When I first joined the Bucaraders, I thought how in the world—because to me in my first meeting they looked so disorganized," Pearson said, president of the Bucaraders. "How in the world do they pull this off? And as you go along you see these committees and all the work they put in. And it all comes together the day of the parade and it all falls into place.”
"So, what we tell the rookies we have is, ‘You’d think this group of misfits and social anarchists couldn’t start a parade, much less on time, but we’ve been doing it since 1957,’” Moller said laughing.
With Moller volunteering for five decades and Pearson volunteering for his 24th time, they've seen the most unusual things happen in the crowd.
“The strangest thing that ever happened to me is a lady starts to give birth on the street corner when I'm there," said Moller. "Fortunately there was a cop there. He’d already called an ambulance. All I had to do was get the crowd away so the ambulance can get in.”
But it’s not all business all the time. Behind the scenes, this group can’t go one festival season without a few laughs.
“If you can’t have fun, you can’t have a volunteer group," Moller said. "They won’t stick together if it’s no fun and we have fun.”
"It’s a very close knit group of people," said Pearson. "We have people from all walks of life in our organization. We have electricians, we have insurance agents, financial planners, plumbers, parts people. And we all come together and we have a common goal in providing this good, clean, safe entertainment for our public.”
The group remains in touch even throughout the year, Pearson said. And you can imagine, all those years together, stories are bound to pile up.
“Starting the junior parade years ago, Claude Watts shooting the shotgun," Moller started. "And he shoots a seagull out of the sky. Of course he’s standing next to Ken Bung, who was the assistant chief of police at that time. And Ken is the one who told him to fire.”
But don’t you dare try and delay their parade.
“We’re very proud that we start our parades on time every year," said Pearson. "If you’re not in your vehicle when that parade cannon goes off, you’re going to get left behind”