RAYMORE, Mo. — When the Kansas City Chiefs moved to the city in the early 60’s — someone needed to fill the stadium. That is the origin story of the Chiefs Red Coaters organization.
Howard McHenry, 94, is one of the original Chiefs Red Coaters. As a car dealership owner out of Harrisonville, he joined other area businessmen to sell season tickets.
VOICE FOR EVERYONE | Share your voice with KSHB 41’s Claire Bradshaw
“I think my tickets in those days, season tickets, were $4 a piece,” said McHenry.
He has experienced so many noteworthy moments since 1963. He worked with Lamar Hunt on making the two-point conversion official in the NFL by writing a letter to the NFL commissioner at the time. During his time as the Chiefs Club President, McHenry said he remembers making a fan trade deal with St. Louis to liven up the empty parking lots at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Years later, tailgating is bigger than ever.
“You would look at the parking lot and it was like a morgue… our club decided to invite the St. Louis Booster Club to bring a couple of busloads of people to our game and we would go to their game the next year,” said McHenry. “Someone said I’ll furnish the beer, someone said I’ll furnish the hotdogs, and I said I’ll furnish the band.”
That band was called the Dixieland Band. They would play off the back of the truck at tailgate parties.
Howard is an avid trombone player. For him, the Chiefs and music are his two passions. That brings us to one of his favorite memories that he says most people seem to have forgotten — that the Chiefs once had a fight song.
It was written by then-head coach Marv Levy and played by the World of Fun Band. However, McHenry said it was short-lived.
“The Chiefs were really, really terrible. It was awful. I think we went two or three games and that's when we knew we needed to put together a really good marketing program. That's when the fight song came along,” said McHenry.
Today, he carries on its legacy by performing it with his small brass band.
As for today’s Kansas City Chiefs, there is no fight song — but the team still has a lot of fight.
“I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of games but to see this combination of Mahomes and Kelce, we will never see this again. I just hope we can continue to do it,” said McHenry.
He attended the first-ever Super Bowl when it wasn’t even called the Super Bowl. He was at ‘The Longest Game’ of the NFL and is in the league’s documentary. He carries fond memories of Lamar and Norma Hunt and former KC Mayor H. Roe Bartle aka ‘The Chief’. Yet he still finds joy in looking back at the history that played out in front of him.