Though Missouri Western’s campus is mostly vacant this summer, it will soon turn into a sea of red when the Kansas City Chiefs return for training camp next month.
Western began its training camp preparations about four months ago after the Chiefs announced they would return to the university for the 10th straight summer.
“(We) believe last year was one of the best, if not the best, training camps we’ve had, from an operational side and getting them prepared as well as the fan engagement side,” Missouri Western athletics director Josh Looney said. “Ultimately it’s preparing the Chiefs for a championship run and then offering a really good atmosphere for Chiefs fans that are coming from all over to visit our campus.”
Even though training camp is four weeks away, Looney said he and his staff are already in “full-preparation mode.”
Crew members of Western’s Physical Plant began setting up stanchions to help with crowd control on Monday. The workers have also started hanging up banners, trimming the fields, and prepping the dorm rooms for the players.
“We got the cleaning crews in there now. They will get the rooms ready for each individual player,” Director of the Physical Plant Bryan Adkins said.
The training fields are in good condition thanks to recent rain in the area.
“They like the hot weather and they like moisture,” Adkins said. “It’s been pretty beneficial for that.”
Over the last nine years, the visitor turnout has typically ranged from 30,000 to 50,000 people each summer. With the Chiefs returning with an AFC West title and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, record-breaking crowds are expected.
“I predict we are on the higher end if we get good weather with some of the great weekend dates we have,” Looney said.
Over the course of the last nine years, over 350,000 visitors have visited training camp in St. Joseph.
Unless otherwise noted, all training camp practices will be free of charge to the public. Missouri Western will charge a $5 parking fee per vehicle per day. On July 27, July 28 and Aug. 3, MWSU will charge a $5 admission fee into practice.
“The admission from those three days and parking goes to fund the expenses that the university has for camp. Those revenue days are to offset the cost that it takes to put on training camp,” Looney said.
Unless it’s a danger to players and fans, the Chiefs will hold open practices outdoors.
“If lightning pushes the team indoors, those practices are closed to the public, but the team has been good at understanding fans travel along way to go to camp. (The Chiefs) try to be outside if possible,” Looney said.
The Chiefs will begin camp on July 24, but practices are closed to the general public until the 27th and will run through Aug. 15.