NFL football fans take in a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ draft day in Kansas City
Many people visited the NFL Draft for the first time to share the experience with their children. Tens of thousands of fans packed the Union Station area.
Tens of thousands of football fans gathered at Union Station and the lawns around the National WWI Memorial and Museum Thursday for the first day of the NFL Draft.
It’s the first time Kansas City has hosted the nationally-televised event, and one of the largest events the city has hosted.
On the south lawn of the memorial, children and adults took part in skill challenges, and represented their favorite teams.
Hundreds of fans waited in every line at the NFL Draft Experience for a chance to compete with friends and family in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and field goal kick challenges. Some fans wore their gameday team makeup and uniforms.
Heather Mosey came from the Northland with her son, Wyatt, and his friend, Eli.
“It's amazing,” Mosey said. “We love Kansas City and all the things that are happening for our city. It's been great.”
After a spirited sprint, Wyatt and Eli said they were excited for the other challenges. Wyatt said he wanted a chance to meet his favorite players.
All NFL franchises had fans at the Draft, but Kansas City Chiefs fans dominated the event. Waves of red jerseys flowed through the festival entrances.
Latricia Allen came from south Kansas City with her son, Dillard. He posed for a picture at a mini draft stage, where fans held their favorite team’s jersey as if they were being drafted. Latricia said she could not miss the opportunity to attend the draft in her hometown.
“I would've not attended if it wasn't here, but since it's here this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing so I'm here for it,” she said. “It feels good because it's probably the only time he's going to be able to experience the draft, so this is something that we'll be able to tell him in the future. We got plenty of pictures and we're excited.”
More than 60,000 fans were expected to participate in the skill challenges. Many decided to break away and brave long lines to grab a bite to eat at stalls of food vendors.
Fred Davis is a supervisor with Venue Smart, a team in charge of picking up recycling and trash at the draft. He said about 60 team members are helping keep the lawns clear of waste. Davis said most fans have been properly discarding their trash.
“We can fill up a landfill around here,” he joked. “But from what I'm seeing, they're being responsible right now.”
Kansas City Police Captain Brad Lynn said all the fans have also been on their best behavior.
“Everything's going great. There are a lot of people out here,” Lynn said. “However, everybody's behaving themselves. Everybody seems to be having a lot of fun. And so far, we've had no issues.”
“It seems very family friendly, and it's something I would definitely take my kids to,” he said.
Dominique Swinney came from McKinney, Texas, with his wife and children to watch the draft and participate in skill challenges. He played quarterback as his young children ran routes.
“Man, you can't complain — first time to the draft,” Swinney said. “We were lucky enough to come, so yeah, man, we’re enjoying everything. We've been here for about an hour and as soon as (the kids) found grass, we had to throw the football.”