The line weaved and curved through the parking lot with nearly 600 people in tow, each clad in red and bound by a passion for the Kansas City Chiefs. Training Camp wasn't for another five weeks, but these fans were about to watch practice up close.
It was the annual "First Look" event at The University of Kansas Health System Training Complex, where Season Ticket Members had the opportunity to grab a front row seat at Chiefs' minicamp. These fans were the first to claim the opportunity through the Chiefs Kingdom Rewards program when the event was announced, and with the day finally here, there was plenty of excitement in the air to say the least.
"We're here making memories and starting a tradition," said Thone Synhavong, an STM since 2003. "I'm here with my son and he's going to grow up to be a Chiefs' fan, so this is a lot of fun. We're so excited for this season and just wanted to see what the Chiefs are looking like at practice."
The event – which included access to food trucks, Chiefs' merchandise and a catered lunch – equipped every fan in attendance with branded sunglasses, a roster and – most-importantly – a radio earpiece tuned into a practice "narrowcast." Through the earpiece, fans had the chance to hear Voice of the Chiefs Mitch Holthus, Kendall Gammon and Dan Israel break down the action on the field, providing context to the often fast-paced nature of practice.
It simply added sizzle to an already thrilling afternoon.
"We can't get enough Chiefs – we go to training camp and as many events as we can – and this has all been great," said Billy Wilson, who drove three hours from Oxford, Kan. to attend First Look. "It's worth the drive."
And it wasn't over following the final whistle.
After practice concluded and the fans serenaded the roster with applause, Head Coach Andy Reid and General Manager Brett Veach made a point of thanking all of the fans for their support while providing an update on the team.
"I'll tell you all, the guys are working their tails off," Reid said to the crowd. "They've done a phenomenal job out here and you guys saw that today. They're challenging each other, which is really important when it comes to getting better."
But it wasn't only about football on Wednesday. As Reid wrapped up his remarks, he invited the family of Dwane Simmons – a Washburn football player who tragically lost his life in April – to join him in front of the crowd.
"We're here to celebrate this young man's life," Reid said before handing Simmons' parents a personalized jersey for their son to the applause of the fans.
It was a moving tribute to end a special afternoon, and from the jersey presentation to a simply beautiful day out at the Chiefs' facility, it was certainly all something that each and every Season Ticket Member in attendance won't soon forget.
To learn more about becoming a Season Ticket Member, click here.
Chiefs Season Ticket Members receive the first public look at practice during mini camp 2019.