KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ten days from now, Chiefs fans celebrate their New Year's Day.
Preseason training camp begins next Saturday on the campus of Missouri Western University in St. Joseph. The migration to training camp is already underway.
The task is huge. As Kansas City Chiefs equipment managers load up for camp, they're given the task of making St. Joe feel exactly like One Arrowhead Drive. Chiefs Head Equipment Manager Allen Wright has 45 people involved in a four-day process, loading up 10 moving trucks with 75 percent of all the equipment the Chiefs own.
The effort came to life on Wednesday morning, as a moving crew from Fry-Wagner reported for duty, helping the Chiefs tackle the move.
“You can never run out of anything, so you're always going to take more than you need,” Wright said.
Wright has been the team's equipment manager for 33 years, and he's worked under nine head coaches, dating back to the John Mackovic era in the early 1980s. Wright says preparations for this year's camp began as soon as last year's sessions in St. Joe wrapped up. He says that's what it takes to outfit 90 players and coaches from head to toe with gear for different kinds of weather.
“There's nobody who touches our players more than us. When they first walk in the door as draft picks or free agents, and we're with them seven days per week for eight months out of the year,” Wright said.
“It's fun for us,” Jayne Martin, Chiefs director of fan experience, said. “This is the start of the season. This is what we all plan and prepare for all year.”
“This is a really good time for our fans to start preparing with St. Joe being only 45 minutes away.”
Bringing it all home from camp is just as hard, except Wright says that happens in half a day's time. He reminds us once camp ends, he has to load up again. That time around, it will be for the first preseason road trip.
Chiefs officials say fans are welcome to tailgate at Missouri Western. The team is charging five dollars to park in the training camp lots in St. Joe. Next Saturday's opening practice begins at 3:30 p.m. and there will be a team autograph session afterwards.