It’s not hard to imagine the Buntin family with its own reality show, though the reality of this sprawling, musical, nautical, entrepreneurial clan — now ensconced on South Padre Island — may be beyond the grasp of television.
Helmed by Texas native Rupert Buntin, the Buntins’ adventures have taken them to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and Washington state, attracting media attention and entertaining/mystifying crowds along the way.
In January, the family purchased the Palm Street Pier on the Island, renaming it the “Lobo del Mar Café.” All the family’s business ventures — parasailing, marine charter, entertainment, etc. — are done under the Lobo del Mar moniker.
The Buntins arrived here from Port Hadlock, Wash., where they owned a marine salvage operation, a parasailing company and a trading post. During their spare time, they entertained tourists and locals with their trademark, homegrown musical extravaganza featuring guitars, drums and bagpipes, Celtic, Middle Eastern, flamenco and Mexican folk music, and Irish step, hula and belly dancing.
“Our show, what we did in Washington and Hawaii for a long time, that’s three hours long usually,” said Brady Buntin, a bagpipe player, bagpipe builder and the ninth of Rupert and Carrol Buntin’s 11 children.
“There’s 18 dancers and they do these big numbers. It’s got all this stuff going on.”
So much that it won’t all fit in the Lobo del Mar Café, thus the full show has been staged only a few times on the Island, and at other venues. Still, Lobo del Mar features live, local music seven days a week, including the “fam jam” every Tuesday.
“It’s just us boys, and I’ve got a niece that plays slide guitar and Dobro,” Brady said. “She plays with us, and it’s just all of our tunes that we like to play, that Mom and Dad like to hear.”
STEVE CLARK, Staff Writer