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Udders up: Wichita tips its way into Copa field

‘Tumba Vacas’ identity blends local ranching culture, Hispanic flair
Tumba Vacas uniforms were modeled after the traditional "Charros" attire, while music and dancing filled the Riverfront Stadium concourse. (Wichita Wind Surge)
September 29, 2022

Every year, more and more teams join Copa de la Diversión, and every year, the new identities at the heart of the Hispanic fan engagement program take center stage. Perhaps the most eye-catching in this year’s class was Double-A Wichita’s “Tumba Vacas.” Translated from Spanish, Tumba Vacas can mean "cow

Every year, more and more teams join Copa de la Diversión, and every year, the new identities at the heart of the Hispanic fan engagement program take center stage. Perhaps the most eye-catching in this year’s class was Double-A Wichita’s “Tumba Vacas.”

Translated from Spanish, Tumba Vacas can mean "cow tomb," but in this context refers to “cow tippers.” It’s a name that lends itself to the ranching tradition, quite appropriately, in a city once known by the nickname “Cowtown.”

Alvin Garcia, one of the masterminds behind the Tumba Vacas, had helped bring a new Copa identity to life before. Prior to joining the Wind Surge as the team’s promotions coordinator, Garcia worked in similar roles with Triple-A El Paso and Albuquerque. He was part of the team that helped debut the Isotopes’ “Mariachis de Nueva México” identity in 2018.

By the time he joined the staff in Wichita last year, Garcia already understood the central goal of Copa de la Diversión and was well-prepared to help create a new identity.

The first step for the team was to meet with Hispanic and Latinx community leaders -- some were small-business owners, others politicians or members of families with longstanding roots in Wichita -- to discuss ways in which a Copa identity can represent that community while also being relatable for everybody from Wichita.

Garcia said they did not go into this meeting with the name “Tumba Vacas,” nor did they have a list of other suggestions for the group. Instead, he displayed some of the ideas that were implemented during his time in El Paso and Albuquerque. From there, the group brainstormed, and the Tumba Vacas identity was born.

“This name -- it was like a snowball. They just started rolling with the idea and it just got bigger,” Garcia said. “They started talking about the history of Wichita, which is more ranching and agriculture and the traditions of the farmland here … and they brought the idea of how we can use the name “Cow Tippers.” So, we decided to go ahead and translate [it].”

As the idea snowballed, the group began to think of ways for the idea to be put into practice. Starting with the look, they chose a cartoon of a tipped-over cow for the logo. And for the player uniforms, they borrowed an idea from a sport well-known in the Wichita community: la Charrería, which is a formally attired Mexican rodeo. In addition to the look of a traditional “Charro,” the uniforms also had pink piping and images of flowers along the side.

“[The flowers] are a little touch of Hispanic culture,” Garcia said.

The club was able to host three Tumba Vacas nights during the 2022 season. More were planned but ended up getting postponed due to weather, and an additional night was added by fan request. In addition to the player uniforms, Garcia described the goal of transforming Riverfront Stadium into Riverfront Plaza.

“Once we revealed our theme to Wichita and all over the nation, we had a good response with it,” Garcia said. “Somehow it just clicked that a lot of families understood what we were trying to accomplish and were really excited. We had a lot of good feedback for sure.”

Fans could walk a circle around the ballpark concourse to find something different set up in each corner. There were mariachi bands and salsa dancers behind home plate. Another entrance had “baile folklorico,” which is a traditional Mexican dance, performed by children from a local school, accompanied by a singer.

“We turned one of our levels into the Emprise Bank Fiesta Deck. We had entertainment up there, but it was more of a DJ style, but we had so many people up there enjoying the view and a little bit of a taste of what we can provide in the food area,” Garcia said. “It was a lot, especially with the fireworks at the end to finish it all, that was just a moment where a lot of our community leaders and people who reached out to say thank you for the representation from every corner that we can think of.”

The team invited different groups for the different Copa nights, including a local auto club for lowriders. The community leaders who helped to start the idea were also available at the ballpark for fans who might have questions about the Tumba Vacas or the traditions that were on display.

“The people from the community, which is more than the Hispanic side, like the whole community for Wichita came together to support each other,” Garcia said.

The Tumba Vacas were also a hit for the Spanish-speaking players and coaches on the Wichita roster, which, by season’s end, had representatives from Venezuela, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, including manager Ramon Borrego.

“Our whole team took it in a positive way. … They were really excited for it because they saw something vibrant that represented their culture,” Garcia said, mentioning that some of the players’ families got to enjoy the events on the concourse. “Even though most of [one] culture is different compared to another, they saw the idea that we wanted to do and they appreciated what we were trying to accomplish.”

The positive interaction with community members is among the most important aspects of Copa de la Diversión. With a fun idea and a deep knowledge of tradition, the Tumba Vacas enjoyed a successful debut in the program.

“It was amazing, we got a lot of good responses from the community,” Garcia said. “It's an amazing thing. We saw the whole community, even the people who haven't been here before. It was a shocker for them to see it."

Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for