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554 miles from AT&T Stadium you will find a Dallas Cowboys celebratory tradition that is unique in the state. You might expect it in Dallas or Arlington, but to find this three-decade tradition thriving in a Brownsville neighborhood is both surprising and heart-warming.

It is called “La Pitada.”

La Pitada, in this case, means “the honking.” After every Dallas Cowboys victory, hundreds of vehicles and a few thousand people hit the street of Southmost Road in Brownsville in a cacophony of honking, whistling and victorious gritos.

Music plays, basses thump. It is a moveable feast, a sacred rite of celebration for the Cowboys faithful. It is a mobile tailgate party, an impromptu parade. Fans drive slowly, honking vigorously, windows down, collectively expressing their joy. And to make it all the more joyful, taquerias scent the air with their aromatic spices.

After the Dallas win last Thursday night, my wife said, “Vamos a La Pitada.” Lupita likes it mostly for our daughter, Scarlett, who loves a parade, especially one she can be in.

I like that there is no official proclamation or sponsor that makes the Pitada happen. There is nothing top-down about it. It is a grassroots tradition. It is of the people, by the people and for the people.

All that is needed is a Cowboys win. That’s it. As soon as that happens, la gente jump in whatever vehicle is handy, wearing Cowboy hats, caps or helmets, and take off with window flags flapping in the breeze.


Some kids stand up through the sunroofs, waving pennants. Many dogs are along for the ride, decked out in their official Cowboys regalia. Pickups have 6-foot Dallas Cowboys flags mounted in the beds that billow to full length as they drive. Motorcyclists, sometimes with faux Cowboys cheerleaders riding behind them, rev their engines.

The Pitada is composed of all nature of vehicles: hot rods, low riders and high riders. I even saw one truck pulling a boat as a float, decked out in blue lights and Cowboys flags. Cowboys blankets are draped along the sides of vehicles, too.

Horns are honked in short stacatto bursts and long sustained blasts. Air horns in dump trucks are common. One guy at an auto repair shop along the route uses a compressor to salute passersby with his stationary air horn that is so loud it seems to rock your vehicle as you go by.

Celebratory whistles never cease. “Go Cowboys” is heard often, but the most common mantra of all is: “Puro Pinche Cowboys,” which translated is, uh, well, let’s just say, ”How ’bout them Cowboys!”

La Pitada is raucous, but peaceful. Police are rarely seen, unless they are just joining the procession.

The Cowboys Nation of Southmost is joined by others from across Brownsville and neighboring communities. Those not living close by log in to live Facebook, Twitter and TikTok feeds, checking in from the Metroplex, and even Chicago, New York and L.A. The route of the Pitada is about two miles long on Southmost Road, with the traffic U-turning at each end to do it again.

The Pitada is a park and ride affair. Sometimes you are in the parade waving at the spectators and sometimes you park and become a spectator, cheering on the passing parade. Many people sit in lawn chairs along the route, at H-E-B, and in front of many businesses and homes along Southmost Road. Some stand waving, wearing Dallas Cowboy serapes. The cruisers film the spectators as the spectators film the cruisers.

How did all this come to be? La Pitada started in the glory days of the 1990s when the Cowboys won three Super Bowls. In the late ’70s, the Cowboys came to be known as “America’s Team,” but they also became Mexico’s team, because Spanish language broadcasts of the Cowboys games had been on the air in Mexico since the late ’60s. To this day, if I can’t get the Cowboys broadcast here in Texas, I tune in to Televisa and watch it there.

“Cowboys,” “Vaqueros”: Translates quite well. This is significant because Southmost is an old immigrant community where Spanish is the first language of the majority of people. They have strong familial ties to Mexico. It helped that the Cowboys for decades had kickers with roots in Mexico and soccer: Villanueva, Herrera, and Septién.

If the Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl this year, I think the Pitada will be legendary. Might just be bigger than Dallas!


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