Jun 26, 2024

Charlie Shields recalls the agreement that first brought Chiefs camp to St. Joseph

Posted Jun 26, 2024 7:02 PM
Stock photo by  Tommy Rezac.
Stock photo by  Tommy Rezac.


St. Joseph Post

Two men who were instrumental in bringing Kansas City Chiefs training camp to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph are now members of the St. Joseph Area Sports Hall of Fame.

Dirck Clark, former president of the Missouri Western Board of Governors, and Charlie Shields, former State Senator of the 34th District, were among the inductees in this year’s St. Joseph Area Sports Hall of Fame Class.

Shields, a St. Joseph resident, says he was surprised by the honor, but humbled nonetheless.

"It's been awhile since we actually got training camp to St. Joseph," Shields told KFEQ Radio. "It's a great honor and I know Dirck (Clark) feels the same thing to be recognized for our efforts to help bring the camp to St. Joseph."

Training camp has been in St. Joseph since 2010. Leading up that, Shields says it was a years-long process of getting the agreement done.

The idea and vision of camp being held at Missouri Western really started several years before 2010, when the team held OTAs on campus.

"A few years before we located the camp, we had summer OTAs at Missouri Western," Shields recalled. "And the community just turned out. It was a beautiful summer morning, and I think the Chiefs were impressed with how the community turned out, what the facilities looked like and I think they started to see the possibility."

Talks continued between Shields, then President Pro Tem of the Missouri Senate, the Missouri Western Board of Governors and Chiefs ownership about moving training camp from River Falls, Wisconsin to St. Joseph.

Shields says there was a meeting with then Chiefs General Manager Carl Peterson and team chairman Clark Hunt at halftime of a preseason game with the St. Louis Rams.

Part of the agreement was Shields securing $25 million in tax credits from the Missouri Development Finance Board to help with Arrowhead Stadium renovations.

"But, there's really one thing that was going to make this attractive - bringing the camp back to St. Joseph and Missouri," Shields said, "and they agreed that it was a great idea. That if we put a package together, they would do that. That's exactly how the whole thing got started."

As part of the plan, the Chiefs donated $10 million to Missouri Western to help with construction of the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex and other facilities to help lure the Chiefs to campus.

The original deal was for five seasons. Now, 14 years later, Shields says all of Chiefs Kingdom can see how beneficial and impactful having the camp at Missouri Western has been.

"The indoor training facility with the weight rooms, conditioning rooms, therapy rooms, all top notch. All of that adds together as to why that thing has been there 14 years. It's good for the Chiefs, the community and Missouri Western."

"And the fans, all you have to do is watch on one of those practice mornings, the trail of cars coming up from Kansas City to see training camp. It shows that it makes a huge impact."

Charlie Shields interview

Stock photo.
Stock photo.

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