Chiefs training camp starts next week in St. Joseph, Mo., and if getting up close and personal with the players is your kind of thing, you’ll want to take note of some key dates.
This year the team will hold four full-team autograph-signing sessions, plus 11 more autograph-signing opportunities with individual player groups.
On top of those autograph sessions, the Chiefs have added two social media days to the docket for this year’s camp. The social media days, on July 31 and Aug. 5, will include T-shirt and prize giveaways as well as a photo-booth station and deals on merchandise. The Social Media Club of Kansas City will also be on hand for the social media days.
The Chiefs will hold three Tailgate Tuesday events, too. On these days — Aug. 2, 9 and 16 — the first 1,000 fans in attendance will take home Chiefs-themed tailgating gifts. On Aug. 2, it’s bottle-opener sunglasses; on Aug. 9, a Chiefs basting brush; and on Aug. 16, a Chiefs Kingdom tailgating apron.
To close camp on Aug. 18, the Chiefs will hold a Military Appreciation Day, with VIP access for invited members of the armed forced from Ft. Riley, Ft. Leavenworth, Whiteman AFB and Rosecrans Reserve ANGB. The military members invited will be able to meet coaches and players on this final day of camp.
Enough introduction. On to the particulars!
Where is it?
Chiefs training camp is held at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, about a one-hour drive north of downtown Kansas City. Take Interstate 29 North to Exit 46A for U.S. 36 East. Take the first exit, Riverside Road, and turn left. At the second stoplight, Mitchell Avenue, turn left. Go about one mile and the university is on the right. Turn right onto SW University Drive, then take Downs Drive to the parking area.
For GPS users, use this address: 4525 Downs Drive, St. Joseph, MO 64507
When is it?
Rookies and quarterbacks report to camp Tuesday, July 26, and will practice Wednesday through Friday, but those workouts are private and not open to the public. The first full-squad practice, which is open to the public, is Saturday, July 30.
What does it cost?
Admission to each practice is free except for the first practice on Saturday, July 30, and Family Fun Day on Aug. 6, when admission is $5 per person. Children 3 and under are free. Missouri Western will charge a $5 parking fee per vehicle per day. Parking for buses and RV’s will cost $15 per day.
What to expect
When you arrive at Missouri Western, you’ll be ushered into a parking lot near the football stadium (Lot H). If Lot H fills, additional parking is available in Lots J and K. From Lot H, you’ll go down a hill (or some stairs, depending on where you park) and walk along the track that lines the field, which eventually will take you to the two practice fields the Chiefs will use.
You’ll be able to sit and watch practice on the hill that lines both end zones and the metal bleachers that line one of the sidelines. If you’re planning on sitting on the hillside, the Chiefs suggest packing a blanket or a chair.
Practices that start at 8:15 a.m. will run for two hours and 40 minutes, while practices that start at 9:15 a.m. will run for one hour and 40 minutes.
How to get autographs
Players exit the field via a large hill in the corner of one of the end zones that leads up to the indoor facility. On their way off the field, a handful of players will always sign autographs for fans who line the hill and the end zone closest to the hill. The Chiefs will hold organized team autograph sessions on July 30 and 31 as well as Aug. 6 and 7.
There will also be autograph sessions by position group after certain practices. The quarterbacks, running backs and specialists will sign autographs on Aug. 1, 9 and 18. Linebackers will sign on Aug. 2 and 10. Wide receivers and tight ends will sign on Aug. 3 and 15. Offensive and defensive-line members will sign on Aug. 5 and 16. And defensive backs will sign on Aug. 8 and 17.
Why you should go to Family Fun Day
There’s a $5 entry fee and children 3 and under get in free. There will be an autograph session, a kids’ zone with inflatables, a rock wall and other activities for kids, as well as an appearance by the Chiefs’ cheerleaders and KC Wolf. Kids in grades three through eight will also be able to participate in on-field drills at Family Fun Day.
Why is the opening practice $5?
The opening Saturday practice is the only practice that will be an afternoon session, taking place at 3:30 p.m. All other practice sessions will start at either 8:15 a.m. or 9:15 a.m. The first practice session will be one of four sessions where the team will hold a full-team autograph session.
All practices listed are open to the public. Practices that are moved indoors because of inclement weather will be closed to the public.
▪ Saturday, July 30: 3:30 p.m. practice, team autograph session ($5 admission fee)
▪ Sunday, July 31: 8:15 a.m. practice, Social Media day, team autograph session
▪ Monday, Aug. 1: 8:15 a.m. practice
▪ Tuesday, Aug. 2: 8:15 a.m. practice, tailgate Tuesday bottle-opener sunglasses giveaway (first 1,000 fans)
▪ Wednesday, Aug. 3: 9:15 a.m. practice
▪ Thursday, Aug. 4: No practice
▪ Friday, Aug. 5: 8:15 a.m. practice, social media day
▪ Saturday, Aug. 6: 8:15 a.m. practice, Family Fun Day, team autograph session ($5 admission fee)
▪ Sunday, Aug. 7: 8:15 a.m. practice, Season Ticket Member Appreciation and Alumni Day, team autograph session
▪ Monday, Aug. 8: 9:15 a.m. practice
▪ Tuesday, Aug. 9: 8:15 a.m. practice, tailgate Tuesday Chiefs BBQ basting brush giveaway (first 1,000 fans)
▪ Wednesday, Aug. 10: 8:15 a.m. practice
▪ Thursday Aug. 11: No practice
▪ Friday, Aug. 12: No practice
▪ Saturday, Aug. 13: First preseason game, 3:30 p.m., vs. Seahawks
▪ Sunday, Aug. 14: No practice
▪ Monday, Aug. 15: 8:15 a.m. practice
▪ Tuesday, Aug. 16: 8:15 a.m. practice, custom Chiefs Kingdom tailgating apron (first 1,000 fans)
▪ Wednesday, Aug. 17: 9:15 a.m. practice
▪ Thursday, Aug. 18: 8:15 a.m. practice, Military Appreciation Day, final camp practice