More than 6,000 people — a record — attended Family Fun Day at the Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp on Saturday.
This is the fourth Family Fun Day that Missouri Western State University has hosted, setting the record for a training camp practice not held in Spratt Stadium.
Brett Esely, Western’s associate director of athletics for external relations, said he thinks the record turnout was due to the favorable weather and early morning practices. But for the Chiefs, Family Fun Day was held long before the team moved its training camp to town.
“This is kind of a traditional day around training camp,” Mr. Esely said. “Not only here in St. Joseph, but they’ve done this in River Falls (Wis.) for, well, every year they were up there.”
Crowded around the edge of the grass practice fields, fans watched as players ran drills at their morning practice. Afterward, the whole team met fans and signed autographs.
One of those fans was Adam Twenter, a teacher from Pleasant Hill, Mo. Mr. Twenter attended the training camp in River Falls.
“My wife and I decided this morning that we’d jump in the car and run up to St. Joe for the training camp,” Mr. Twenter said. “Waiting in line for autographs was crazy. The training camp in River Falls wasn’t quite as big of a turnout, but it was eight hours away.”
Mr. Esely estimated that 65 to 70 percent of those attending Saturday were from outside the St. Joseph community.
Autographs and Chiefs’ practice weren’t the only activities at the Family Fun Day. About 250 children signed up to participate in the Gatorade Junior Training Camp, led by the Missouri Western football team.
Kurt McGuffin, Western’s athletic director, explained that the junior training camp aims to teach kids about the importance of hydration and, of course, football.
“Seeing all the kids learning football, and learning from my football players, is pretty special,” Mr. McGuffin said. “There are about 250 kids out here, and our players like doing the community service work.”
Mr. Esely said he enjoyed seeing the children interact also with the NFL players.
“They get a thrill out of it,” he said. “They love the autographs. They love seeing the NFL guys up close. Seeing the kids have a good time is my favorite part of the day.”