Sea of red grows as 2019 Chiefs Training Camp opens to the public

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SAINT JOSEPH, Mo. -- Let’s not kid ourselves: Chiefs Training Camp is as much about the fans as it is about the players. On Saturday, the football fields on the campus of Missouri Western in St. Joseph was a sea of red.

Some might consider this First Day of Training Camp the unofficial kick-off to tailgate season. Or, perhaps it's the unofficial start to football season.

Brian Heller brought his family to their first Training Camp experience.

“Coming in, I got yelled at because I was singing follow the red and white signs like the Wizard of Oz,” he said. The rest of his family groaned at the memory.

The first day Chiefs Training Camp is open to the fans, and after the 2018-2019 season, fans are more than ready for it. Emilie Rigolizzo was there with there with her husband and children.

"We are huge Chiefs fans," she said. "We bring my family, and my kids."

Ready... and waiting. Some waited in line for three hours in the Missouri July heat.

Brandon Rojas pulled a wagon with his two sons in it.

"I told the kids I’d bring them," he said, "and I got to stick to my word. Get out of the house, something to do."

Training Camp is more than something. It’s a chance to see the first glimpse of this season’s team. It's also a change to see those famous faces up close and personal.

Fans flocked to a hill to see the players walk down to the practice field. Chants of "MVP" echoed as Patrick Mahomes came down. When Tyreek Hill appeared, fans cheered "Tyreek!" The embattled wide receiver held up his hands and encouraged the crowd.

"I think it’s the players," said Rigolizzo. "To get that close to seeing all the players."

After all, even with the roughly hour drive from Kansas City to St. Joseph, fans agree Training Camp is a more affordable alternative to a regular season game. On Saturday, it was a $5 admission fee.

The other reason fans come out is that it's a smaller crowd, and a smaller venue. Players often sign autographs along the fence after practice.

One thing that was not small: the Chiefs Kingdom. The sea of red, regulars tell Fox4, was much larger than in years past.

As the Heller family proudly yelled, "Football! It's Back! Go Chiefs!"

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