There is a joke among my family and friends about being fans of the Kansas City Chiefs. We say that when we die, we want the Chiefs to serve as our pall bearers so that they can “let me down one more time.”
That might sound dismissive, but in truth, it goes to the fierce loyalty we carry for our hometown team. In my role as the director of the Missouri Division of Tourism, I get to take my sports enthusiasm to a whole new level, promoting others to come and share the experience as often as possible for our five professional teams. That said there is only one team for which I’ve been a season ticket holder: The Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite my longtime love for the Chiefs, I just made it to my first pre-season camp. Since 2010, the campus of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph has hosted the “Chiefs Kingdom” for training camp. Camp began July 24. But through Aug. 14, fans can get an up-close look at the entire team on the camp practice fields.
While I knew about this family fun event, I always thought – oh I’ll get up there next year as the Dog Days of Summer always get in the way of a scheduled trip. When I realized that there could be a time that the camp is no longer located in St. Jo, I knew I had to get up there quickly. I encourage you to do so, too. Not only will you enjoy all of the free amenities, you can be a part of the growing momentum for this cherished franchise.
Grab a blanket or bring your favorite lawn chair; bleacher seats are available if that is your preference. Or, you can stand along a designated fence row and get a really up-close look. In addition, autographs are available each day after practice! Visitors are directed where to park (a $5 fee per car includes a donation to Griffon sports teams), and all remaining practices are free. The team does conditioning drills and classroom preparation during their 22-day stay in St. Joseph, while all practices are at 8:15 a.m. on the camp practice fields and are expected to last about two and a half hours.
On the grounds are other attractions including displays from area businesses, food vendors, a fully stocked merchandise tent, including autographs from the Chiefs Cheerleaders, and a free, interactive Kids-Zone. This area has football-themed inflatables, face painters, a rock-climbing wall, a football obstacle course, and many photo opportunities so that you can share the experience with friends and family that couldn’t make it to camp with you.
Then, settle in as the scene unfolds before you. Auditions continue for who will be the new free safety, who will be on the offensive AND the defensive line, how can the special teams build on their success, and what stand-out performances will this talented group of guys produce?
After camp, stick around and enjoy Missouri Western State University. Learn about St. Joseph’s most famous native son at the Walter Cronkite Memorial, the country’s preeminent tribute to the legendary newsman. Explore the Bushman Planetarium in Agenstein Hall, or stay a little while longer and see why St. Joseph is where the West officially started getting wild and learn about 13 unique museums, great shopping and dining options, and continue to enjoy the outdoors and their parkway system.
Then, get ready for some football and cheer the Chiefs to another post season berth as they advance to the Super Bowl!