For Chiefs Fans, Tailgating is not a Game Kansas City Chiefs fans are serious about tailgating. This pre-game ritual is marked by people arriving in old school buses painted with Chiefs colors or in big trucks with team flags.
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For Chiefs Fans, Tailgating is not a Game

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For Chiefs Fans, Tailgating is not a Game

For Chiefs Fans, Tailgating is not a Game

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They also love football at massive Arrowhead Stadium. This Sunday, the Chiefs play their home opener against the Minnesota Vikings, so it's also the beginning of tailgating season.

Here is KCUR's Kelley Weiss.

KELLEY WEISS: When I was a kid, heading to Arrowhead Stadium for a Chiefs game with my dad and big brother seemed like a pretty normal thing to do.

(Soundbite of shouting)

WEISS: Now as an adult I can't help but wonder if there isn't something, well, fanatical about Chiefs fans and the tailgate parties they throw in the parking lot.

Unidentified Man: Stadium any day of the week.

Ms. ANDREA CHADWICK(ph): Chiefs tailgating is better than any place I've ever been ever. And I've been to a few places.

WEISS: That's Andrea Chadwick from Warrensburg, Missouri. She's tailgating on a steamy weeknight in late August.

Ms. CHADWICK: I've been to St. Louis. I've been to Indianapolis. I've been to Chicago, and I've been to Dallas once. And I have to say, Chiefs tailgating is the best tailgating ever. And why is that? Because everybody comes out and shows their support, and everybody has their Chiefs flags, and everybody knows how to drink and have a good time and barbecue.

WEISS: It's the sheer size of Arrowhead Stadium; it seats 80,000 people, it's the third biggest in the NFL. But it's the fans that fill the enormous parking lot that really help distinguish Kansas City's tailgate.

Take Smokin' Joe McReynolds. He's serious about cooking in his niche of the sprawling parking lot.

Mr. JOE MCREYNOLDS: Well, first of all, this is the small barbecue. I have at 300-gallon barbecue that I pull behind the bus. So when it's a small group, we just use the Weber. Today, we're going to have country-smoked ribs, corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes and watermelon. Beer is optional.

WEISS: Yes, he did say 300-gallon barbecue. That's enough pork chops to feed at least 75 people. He decks out his minibus with red and yellow paint, and makes a five-hour trip from La Belle, Missouri for every game.

Mr. REYNOLDS: This is the boys bus. In front you'll find a television set. Behind that is a couple of riding seats and then a poker table, then a two-well sink. And behind the two-well sink is the boys room. The only reason for having a bus in Kansas City is not waiting in line at the portable potty.

WEISS: Jessie Canao(ph) from Independence, Missouri says there is something distinctly Midwestern about a Chiefs tailgate.

Mr. JESSIE CANAO: Well, this is the Midwest, and Midwestern people are the most friendly people. There's no place on Earth like the Midwest. New York, Los Angeles - they have nothing on Kansas City.

WEISS: I make my way through the parking lot. Talk about friendly. Of the almost 20 groups I stop to talk with, all of them offered me some of their food.

Unidentified Man: Are you hungry?

Ms. WEISS: No. I'm good.

Unidentified Man: Well, you have to try (unintelligible).

Ms. WEISS: I'm too busy running around.

Unidentified Man: Oh, no.

Ms. WEISS: Yup. But even at a football game, there's no rest for a hungry reporter.

For NPR News in Kansas City, I'm Kelley Weiss.

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