ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Wednesday marks the first full day of training camp for the Kansas City Chiefs, who are back in St. Joseph, Missouri, this year.
Over the next three weeks the professional football team will live and practice on the campus of Missouri Western State University, as has been tradition for the past 12 years, aside for 2020 when the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the team to hold training camp at its practice facility outside Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
“There’s definitely a renewed energy and especially after this last year,” explained Beth Conway, the communications director for the St Joseph Visitors Bureau. “To have something wonderful coming to town with great energy having come off a couple of Super Bowl runs, the town just gets so excited.”
Conway helped KSHB 41 create a guide for fans coming to St Joseph.
Friday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m., the city will host a “Red Rally” event celebrating the beginning of training camp. Fans should wear red. The free, outdoor pep rally takes place at Coleman Hawkins Park in Felix Street Square at 713 Felix Street. Phil Vandel will perform a concert. Fans are encouraged to practice social distancing.
Updates via Facebook
From how weather impacts camp, to specials around town, Conway updates a Facebook page specific to the Chiefs’ time in St. Joseph. The page is called “KC Chiefs Training Camp in St. Joseph, MO.”
Museum trading cards
This year, 14 museums in the St. Joseph area collaborated on a program to create collectible trading cards. Visitors can get a free trading card with paid admission to any participating museum. Organizers hope the special collector’s item will bring Chiefs fans to visit a museum after Chiefs practice.
“As vaccines are happening, as people are becoming a little more aware, but still being careful, we are fully open, our numbers are coming up. Summer school groups, day camps are coming," Sarah Elder, the manager of Remington Nature Center, said. "It’s nice to see people out and about and coming back.”
Conway created a list of local favorite restaurants. One of award-winning restaurant says its line moves as fast as Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Betty’s Cafe has won several “Best of St. Joseph” awards for its breakfasts, pies and pork tenderloin sandwich.
“It’s cheerful, I know the people, they’ve been coming in since I was really young. It seems like you’re at home; they give me a hard time, I give them a hard time,” Nikki Wilmes, Betty’s granddaughter, said.
Betty’s Cafe is located at 6307 King Hill Avenue. It opens at 5 a.m. so Chiefs fans have plenty of time to stop for breakfast before training camp.
Fans attending training camp will have a new vantage point. The Chiefs and Missouri Western State University have collaborated to open “The Berm.” The sloped, grassy hillside will provide fans a place to be close to the action. Chiefs President Mark Donovan admitted he’s sad fans and players won’t be able to interact like normal due to COVID-19 protocols.
“There’s nothing better than being around our fans. I’m really excited to be at the first practice and see the fans interacting,” Donovan said. “Coach [Andy Reid] talked about it, players talked about it; that energy is really important so that gets you excited. But it’s also frustrating we can’t really interact the way we want to, the way we used to, the way the norm is.”