By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Tickets for Kansas City Chiefs training camp became available to season ticket holders Tuesday and now can be reserved by the general public, starting Wednesday.
The Chiefs will be back in St. Joseph for training camp for a 12th time this summer with open practices starting July 28. Missouri Western athletic director Andy Carter says preparations continue as the campus and city get ready to roll out the red carpet.
"I think it's very exciting," Carter said. "We actually had an operational meeting (Tuesday) and kind of worked through a lot of the moving parts. I think it will be more exciting once they actually get here and we're facing live bullets rather than talking about it. But, it's an exciting time to be a Griffon."
All training camp practices will be held at the Mosaic Training Fields on the Missouri Western campus. Members of the general public can reserve their training camp tickets starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday by going to Chiefs.com/trainingcamp.
While fans were allowed back at camp in 2021, there were still certain COVID restrictions in place. This year is full steam ahead, as fan autograph sessions are back after being suspended last summer.
Marci Bennett, executive director for the St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau, says getting camp back last year was nice, but there were still difficulties.
"Last year was kind of like tiptoeing through the tulips," she said. "Because, we didn't have it the year before and then last year, we were still really perusing the COVID situation."
Even with the restrictions last year, Bennett says the economic impact of training camp in the city is hard to exactly measure, but is certainly palpable.
"We know it's a big impact," she said. "Our hotels show a big increase and they can tell. I mean, they're not asking people if they're here for Chiefs camp, but if three-fourths of the people checking in on a Friday night have Chiefs jerseys on, you know it's making an impact."
Carter says this is the final year the Chiefs are required to come to St. Joseph, according to the current agreement. But, he's optimistic a more long-term deal can be sorted out.
"They're not required to tell us what they want to do necessarily until March when their season is over," he explained. "But, I can tell you I have had a conversation, very high-level, very brief. Didn't dig in, but started that discussion and it was very positive."
The Chiefs have come to St. Joseph for camp every year since 2010, with the exception of 2020 due to COVID-19.
The CVB is still in the process of planning and marketing this year's camp, but Bennett says one staple, the 'Welcome Chiefs' yard signs, will start popping up again soon.
"Not only does that welcome the Chiefs," she said, "but it reminds all of our local residents that, 'Hey! The Chiefs are here! They're here right now!' That's kind of cool, too. It kind of pumps up the community."
Moreover, Bennett says training camp is a great opportunity for fans from outside the city to explore St. Joseph and learn more about what it has to offer.
"What that does in my mind is help those Chiefs fans realize that, 'Okay, once Chiefs season is over, and we want to go somewhere and not have to put five tanks of gas in our car to get there, let's go to St. Joe. Let's see what that town really is all about.'"
The full 2022 Chiefs' training camp schedule can be viewed here.