Skip to main content

Kansas City Chiefs Official Team Website |

Missouri Western State University: The Site of Chiefs Training Camp Since 2010

The decision to move camp to St. Joseph brought the Chiefs back to Missouri

As training camp concludes in St. Joseph, we'll finish our training camp series with the story of how the Chiefs first began practicing at Missouri Western State University.

There are many still today who miss training camp in River Falls, even some who missed it at Liberty, but the Chiefs are very much a local team and many in the Missouri state government were hopeful that they could bring them back to the area.

NFL training camps had changed. More teams were conducting camp back at their own facilities.

To be sure, local colleges throughout the state and ones in Kansas were interested in hosting the Chiefs. The team was a winner once again, and everyone wanted to see it, even if it was just in a practice.

The Missouri Development Finance Board approved awarding the Chiefs $25 million in tax credits under Governor Matt Blunt. The agreement committed the Chiefs to conduct camp in Missouri for 10 years. Some of the money would help finance a new indoor training facility at a site of the team's choosing.

The Chiefs made trips to Central Missouri and Northwest Missouri before settling on Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. Western was just a short drive up I-29 from Kansas City.


The university received a state-of-the-art indoor air-conditioned practice field, groomed outdoor practice fields, and a top weight room and conditioning center. The Chiefs' staff even had a hand in designing the facilities and, in the end, they turned out to be among the best in the NFL.

Some parts of training camp never change, but at Missouri Western they did.

What made training camp in St. Joe different was the crowd. It was like being at a game every day, and the attendance helped pump up the players.

The crowds outshone anything River Falls could offer, and William Jewell, too. With Kansas City a short distance away, fans flocked daily to the campus to watch their championship team practice, gather some autographs and buy Chiefs merchandise.

Media no longer had to travel up north, get rooms at nearby hotels (although the Chiefs did offer media rooms in a dorm on-campus in River Falls), and many times, run over to Minneapolis to a television station to send the day's report from camp down the line to their stations in Kansas City.

If the team forgot something, it was an easy trek back to Kansas City to get it, and it made it easier to prepare for an upcoming home preseason game.

But this was surely more than just a team holding practice and getting ready for the upcoming NFL season.

Fans after a 2019 Training Camp practice at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, MO.

Upon the move back to Missouri, the entire Chiefs organization was engaged and felt part of the preparation for the season to come. This was especially true of the marketing department. Camp was suddenly far more than just watching a football practice.

Tents appeared throughout the stadium area offering food and team merchandise for sale, parking lots were managed by university-hired staff, and crowd control became a daily fact of life – something that was never necessary at earlier camp sites. Red Coaters were involved in helping out at camp. Alumni came by, as did the players' families for a visit.

Special dates were established for Chiefs Season Ticket Members to visit camp. A schedule was established to identify when certain players would be available to sign autographs.

Fans could sit and watch a practice on a hill or on metal bleachers that lined the sidelines. Tailgating was encouraged so as to recreate what had become the standard procedure for many ticket holders at the team's in-season games. Locals turned out daily as they had done in River Falls, and trips to camp began to be part of the public's vacation schedule.

A "Kid's Zone" featured free inflatable games and other activities. As the wins continued, the crowds grew larger.

The number of practices available to watch, however, did not. In the early days of the NFL, there were usually two practices most days. In today's NFL, teams are limited to one practice and, of course, inclement weather could impact that.

But now, the Chiefs had an indoor facility, and no day was lost as the franchise prepared for regular season play.

Andy Reid is one of the few remaining NFL coaches who prefers to go away for training camp. As head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, he conducted camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which is a fair distance from the team's offices and training facility.

As more NFL teams selected to stay at their facility where they would work once the season began, Reid preferred to capture the spirt of the league's earlier camps, where a camaraderie among staff and players was built.