(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The return of the Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp to St. Joseph still looms in the air. Recent reports have indicated Missouri Western should expect Head Coach Andy Reid and the squad to make an appearance again, and local businesses are banking on the return as well.
“Oh, it means everything in the world!” said Mark McKnight, an employee at Hi-Ho Bar and Grill.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the NFL to restrict any team activities outside of on-site facilities, leaving the city of St. Joe empty of a sea of red traveling through all summer. Local businesses and restaurants felt the biggest impact of the absence of camp.
Hi-Ho Bar and Grill employee said, “definitely have seen a lot less people come through that were Chiefs fans. Especially since we didn’t have the Training Camp and especially since we’re so far off of I-29.”
Besides Ho-Ho, locations like RiverBluff Brewery, Frederick Inn Steakhouse and Rally House see an uptick of visitors come through their doors, all hoping this summer will be the return of Chiefs fans.
“Chiefs fans coming in from all over the country. Come in and spend time in St. Joseph. They eat in our restaurants, they shop in our shops, and they’re on this campus and they see what Missouri Western has to offer and what St. Joe has to offer,” said Missouri Western State University Athletic Director Josh Looney. “It’s really a win-win-win with Training Camp, and with where the Chiefs are competitively off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. It’s time to bring them back for a summer where we can all enjoy and how competitive they are right now.”
According to recent NFL reports, the NFL is allowing fans to return to training camp this summer, subject to state and local guidelines. Chiefs front office has vocalized wanting to return to St. Joseph as well, but no official word has been stated.
While waiting for the green light, Missouri Western is doing everything they can to prepare the best experience for fans as possible.
“I think St. Joe will be ready for it, Missouri Western will be ready for it, and we’re just working through all protocols until that opportunity comes and we’ll keep preparing,” said Looney. “Just really excited for when that day comes and the Chiefs return and we can welcome fans back. Hey, there’s a lot of people that want to get their picture with that Super Bowl trophy from two years ago that didn’t have a chance at Training Camp last year. So there’ll be all sorts of fun things when we can eventually get them back here.”
The Chiefs and Missouri Western have an extended contract through 2024.
An official announcement from the Chiefs on training camp for 2021 is expected to come in mid-June.