SPRING HILL, Kan. – A Chiefs superfan has been selected as a finalist for the Ford Hall of Fans.
Janel Carbajo is known to many Chiefs fans as the puppet lady. The 58-year-old mom of three said it all began more than 30 years ago.
“I started taking it to the games basically just so my daughter would stay entertained,” she said.
A couple of years later she found another puppet, and her husband suggested she have the puppets duke it out during games.
“Sometimes you have to work them a little harder depending on who we’re playing,” she said while holding the puppets.
With the Chiefs puppet on her right hand and the opposing team on her left, Carbajo’s distinctive fandom quickly got the attention of the NFL cameras at Arrowhead.
“They got me on the big screen, got the girls on the big screen and, golly, here I am,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
The retired schoolteacher is now affectionately known as the puppet lady, a title Carbajo has embraced.
“People enjoy seeing the puppet, and I have people say, ‘Hey we look for you all the time,’” she said. “Some of my former students would say, ‘Hey I saw you on TV’, so it was always a good conversation starter.”
The decades-long Chiefs season ticket holder learned on Tuesday she’s one of three finalists to advance to the final round of the Ford Hall of Fans. The recognition came with a round-trip ticket for two to see the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
“I was totally shocked,” she said. “Oh my gosh, how special is that? That is like a dream come true. I mean 50 years.”
If she wins the title, Carbajo and her puppets will forever be immortalized at the Ford Hall of Fans displayed within the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
“I know there are a lot of wonderful fans, Chiefs fans all over, and I’m just the lucky one that gets to represent them,” she said holding back tears. “It’s a very special honor to be recognized as the puppet lady.”
Carbajo’s two competitors are superfans of the Denver Broncos and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The winner of the contest will be announced sometime this weekend.