It was a question that was running through the mind of every Dallas Cowboys fan last Sunday — would the Cowboys win the game? The bigger question — would there be a pitada down Southmost Boulevard if the Cowboys won?
The answers came shortly after 6:30 p.m. — yes, and yes.
The fans went wild and drove by the hundreds — that’s vehicles only — up and down Southmost Boulevard participating in the La Southmost Pitada, or vehicle parade. There were mothers and fathers, grandpas and grandmas, children and grandchildren and even some pets joined in on the celebration.
Drivers continuously honked their horns and the passengers inside shouted out, “How ‘bout them Cowboys,” waving Dallas Cowboys, flags, banners, T-shirts or any other type of Cowboys memorabilia. Someone even set off some firecrackers a few blocks away.
“My blood pressure was high. It was a great game. It was great that they won,” an ecstatic Griselda Velasquez said, as she sat inside her van watching the pitada. Velasquez has been a Cowboys fan for over 40 years and grew up watching the Cowboys games with her dad. “My husband was also a Cowboys fan and my son too, who lives in California.”
“It’s been a lot of years since they started this,” she said as the sounds of vehicle horns honking and fans shouting in the background could be heard.
Velasquez said she contacted one of the Cowboys fans Facebook page to let them know how Brownsville celebrates the Cowboys wins. “They haven’t responded but I am pretty sure they saw it.”
She added she believes the Cowboys have a 90% chance of going to this year’s Super Bowl.
Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots was one of the most nerve-wracking Cowboys fans have experienced so far during this 2021-2022 NFL season. The game went into overtime and was basically a do or die situation.
According to NBC Sports, more than 23 million viewers watched the overtime segment of the game between the Cowboys and Patriots. It was CBS’ most-watched October game in the national game window since 2015.
Minutes after the Cowboys won the game the fireworks went off and the fans started to make their way to Southmost Boulevard.
Investigator Martin Sandoval, spokesman for the Brownsville Police Department, said when the pitadas first began in Southmost the police department would receive calls of loud noise regarding the continuous honking of vehicle horns. Once the pitadas continued and the residents realized what was going on, the calls died down.
“It’s just about celebrating,” Sandoval said, and “the people are doing a great job over there maintaining the peace.”
La Southmost Pitadas first started in the 1990s after the Cowboys started winning Super Bowls, said Jesse, one of 10 administrators, for the La Southmost Facebook Page. He estimates the page has between 130,000 and 140,000 followers. He’s administrator No.1.
He said Brownsville is the only city in the Rio Grande Valley and probably in Texas that has pitadas for the Cowboys, known as “America’s Team.” But over the years, the Cowboys have almost been one of the most hated teams in the league.
“I’m sure there are people in the Cowboys PR department that have probably heard of the pitada but don’t understand what it is or why we do it. It’s just a family friendly thing to do in the area after a Cowboys win,” Jesse said. “It’s generations of Cowboys fans and I hope one day Jerry Jones and the Jones family can see it, how much we appreciate the Cowboys and how much we love the Cowboys.”
The pitadas went on for a while but pretty much stopped when the Cowboys were no longer Super Bowl contenders and were no longer winning games, said Jesse, who requested his last name not be used.
“The Cowboys started going through tough times so we were like ‘hey you know what, we don’t know if they are going to make the playoffs or Super Bowl so let’s just start celebrating every win’,” Jesse said.
The pitadas started up again around 2012 and have continued over the years with more and more Cowboys fans joining not only those who live in the Southmost area and other parts of Brownsville, but those living from outside the city as well.
“The people showing up today are just continuing a tradition their parents or their tios or their tias did in the early 90s. I remember me going with my football coach at the time. I was just 12 years old,” Jesse said.
Janet Ramirez, another Cowboys fan, said the pitada has been going on for years and tries to attend as many as she can. “I’ve been here as many times as the Cowboys have won,” she said with a laugh, after Sunday’s game.
Like many other Cowboys fans, Ramirez said the game was a nail biter. “We were panicking but we knew once the Cowboys got the ball we had it. We could tell in the games, the guy’s faces, we had it,” she said.
“I think it’s great,” Ramirez said about the pitada. “It puts us on the map for Dallas Cowboys. This just shows how many people love the Dallas Cowboys and with the victory the day before yesterday (Oct. 15) of the Porter Cowboys and now the Dallas Cowboys, it’s been a good weekend.”
Followers of the La Southmost page started making requests to the page to broadcast the pitadas live because they were unable to attend them or had moved out of the area, Jesse said. “They’ve gotten thousands of views. It’s been a tourist attraction to the area.”
But the pitada is not only about celebrating the Cowboys wins, it is also about bringing in business to the locally owned restaurants that are located up and down Southmost Boulevard, Jesse said.
“They are seeing people from the upper Valley coming down and spending money in the area. There are people coming down from Dallas and coming down from Houston,” he said. “If it impacts the local Southmost economy, I am happy because that is the main goal, to bring business to the area. It’s a safe area. It’s not the stereotypical area that a lot of people think.”
“Now we need a Cowboys mural.”
Some of the restaurants are realizing that by showing the games in their eateries, they are helping bring in customers as well. If you don’t arrive early to the area you will probably have a hard time getting in, Jesse said, adding he estimated about 1,000 people attended Sunday’s pitada.
With no Cowboys game on Sunday because the team has a bye week there will be no pitada. So what noise will be heard? “You will probably just here crickets around the area,” Jesse said. “There’s an actual bye week for the pitadas as well,” he said with a chuckle.