They came from far and wide, clad in their game day attire, for an evening that they wouldn’t soon forget.
It was the annual Rookie Season Ticket Member Event at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday, where over 300 new Season Ticket Members filed in for a chance to meet the Chiefs’ rookie class, General Manager Brett Veach and Voice of the Chiefs Mitch Holthus, all the while learning about the benefits of their membership.
Basically, it welcomed each and every new Season Ticket Member to the family.
“There are so many benefits that come along with season tickets,” said Fan Experience Representative Natalie Sherer. “This event provides a fun, interactive way for our members to make sure that they are maximizing being a special part of the Chiefs family."
Among those at the event were Willie and Chelsey Wilcoxen, who flew in all the way from Portland, Oregon and are planning to do so for every game next season as Season Ticket Members.
“We flew in for about half of the games last year and now we’re Season Ticket Members, so we’ll be here every week,” Willie said. “We like to fly in on Friday and then we’ll make a weekend out of it. We’ll go to the zoo, grab some barbeque or visit a museum – Kansas City stuff.”
Though he didn’t grow up in Kansas City, Willie’s familial ties circumvented any distance that may have gotten in the way of being a fan.
“Since I was a little boy, with my grandma living in Kansas City, that whole late 80s group – guys like Deron Cherry and Derrick Thomas – they got me into Chiefs’ football,” Willie explained. “Now, this is home. All this red…this is where I feel comfortable.”
Also making the trip to Arrowhead on Thursday was Clinton West, who piled his family in the car and drove in from Abilene, Kansas.
“I wanted to bring the kids up to today’s event. We decided to buy season tickets this year and I wanted to give them something to remember,” West said. “We’ve been talking about getting season tickets for years and finally we just decided to do it and take the leap.”
When asked how long he had been a fan, West simply laughed.
“Well, I’m 38-years old, so 38 years,” he said with a smile. “I just grew up with it in my family.”
Speaking of family, new Season Ticket Member Brent Burchett is looking forward to attending games with his wife next season following her successful bout with cancer. She recently had surgery and couldn’t attend Thursday’s event, but Burchett said that she was excited to watch Chiefs’ safety and fellow cancer survivor Eric Berry on the field each and every Sunday.
“There’s definitely a connection there. Eric Berry is somebody that’s important to her because he went through a similar thing,” Burchett explained. “She just loves his drive.”
For Brent’s family, that drive extends beyond the game itself.
“Her mother is also a cancer survivor and she always talks about Eric Berry, too,” Burchett said. “She doesn’t know anything about the Chiefs – she lives in Mexico – but she knows about Eric Berry.”
Elsewhere, Amanda Luttrell carried a giant Chiefs’ flag from table to table in the hopes of securing an autograph from every rookie in attendance.
“We bought this at the event on draft day and had a bunch of former Chiefs players sign it,” Luttrell said. “Now, we’re here and we’re going to get it signed every year until it’s full and hang it on the wall at home so everybody can see it.”
Luttrell is technically a new Season Ticket Member this season, though it’s been a trademark of her life as long as she can remember.
“My mom has been a Season Ticket Member since I was like three, and now we’ve taken it over,” Luttrell explained. “We’re bringing our kids here now and starting it all over again.”
Each of the over 300 fans in attendance on Thursday had a story – a reason for why the Kansas City Chiefs matter so much in their lives.
It was a mosaic of passion that wasn’t lost on the Chiefs’ rookie class, many of which were meeting their fans for the first time.
“This being my first time in Arrowhead Stadium and for it to be on a day for the fans, it means a lot,” said linebacker Dorian O’Daniel. “There’s a great showing here and just by how many people are here, you can tell how prideful everyone is in this organization.”
“It’s special for me to meet the fans. These are the people that I’ll be playing for and that will be rooting for us,” defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi added. “A lot of these people that I’ve met are a big fan of us individually, so meeting them just gave me a new perspective.”
All of the rookies – both the Season Ticket Members and the players alike – will be back at Arrowhead soon enough.
For more information on season tickets, click here.