September: Chiefs Fan Guide

Page 1

Tailgate Parties

MAPPED!

Birth of an Icon:

PATRICK MAHOMES

What Will It Take for the

CHIEFS TO REPEAT?

A Bandwagon-Busting

CHIEFS HISTORY QUIZ

BLESSED FAITHFUL BE THE

Y O U R U LT I M AT E 2 0 2 0 C H I E F S F A N G U I D E



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Marcus Cain (24 x 18”/detail)

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Features 52

Chiefs Kingdom Our ultimate fan guide to get you through this football season.

12

KANSAS CITY SEPTEMBER 2020

66

72

40

Blossoming

15 Years

Farm Life

Singer-songwriter finds solace and inspiration in Overland Park.

The mysterious 2004 death of Alonzo Brooks has been reopened by the FBI.

A Stillwell home gives a fresh take on modern farmhouse style.

Photo by Jeremey Theron Kirby


SEPTEMBER 2020 KANSASCITYMAG.COM

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Departments 38

23

90

THE LOOP

SWAY

DISH

EVERY ISSUE

23 Future Unknown

35 Tiger Beat

90 Feature

16 Editor’s Letter

The Andrew Jackson statue's fate is on the November ballot.

24 Starting Lineup Key players in Operation LeGend.

26 Teachers’ Lounge

Local teachers speak anonymously and unfiltered about the fall semester amid Covid.

A local maker’s KC gear is catching eyes.

36 Mask Up Mask-focused beauty and skincare tips.

38 Kelly Parker How a former

How newly-opened restaurants are adapting to the pandemic.

93 Newsfeed

The latest news in

chemist became an award-winning woodworking artist.

the KC food world.

94 ’Cue Card

A rural Kansas pit

that’s worth the drive.

KANSAS CITY SEPTEMBER 2020

C H I E F S FA N G U I D E

14

MAPPED!

09.2020

Tailgate Parties

Birth of an Icon:

PATRICK MAHOMES

What Will It Take for the

CHIEFS TO REPEAT?

96 Backstory

SPECIAL SECTION 85 Private School Profiles

89

28 Low Battery

A KU professor discusses his book on relationships in a technologyfocused era.

31 Calendar

A Bandwagon-Busting

CHIEFS HISTORY QUIZ

BLESSED FAITHFUL BE THE

Y O U R U LT I M AT E 2 0 2 0 C H I E F S F A N G U I D E

ON THE COVER This month’s cover is one section of a new mural called Bringing It Home by artist William Rose. The painting is on display at LEOPOLDgallery in Brookside. Curator Paul Dorrell collaborated on the piece and is selling prints.

Falafel It

Queen Sweets just opened a second location in Lenexa.



From the Editor

The Best of Times...

T

he Chiefs weren’t always winners. In the years before coach Andy Reid arrived, they had five losing seasons out of six, including two campaigns with just two wins against fourteen losses. Guys like Tyler Thigpen and Brady Quinn were under center before the Chiefs drafted a lanky kid from Texas Tech. The team went six years without winning the division they now dominate. And yet, if you went out to Arrowhead during those lean years, you’d find the scene wasn’t so different from last year, when their juggernaut offense rolled up historic numbers, staging comeback after comeback en route to the team’s first ring in fifty years. Even when the team wasn’t winning, the parking lots were packed with loyal fans who committed their Sundays to cheering on Damon Huard. In Kansas City, football isn’t just football—it’s family time. It’s an occasion to bring generations together to toss a pigskin around, crack a few beers and tuck into some burnt ends and cheesy corn bake. That’s what makes this such a special time. Sure, in general, our present circumstances could be a little better. But one bright spot in these weird times is that, after fifty years of faithful support, the Kansas City Chiefs have fielded a team worthy of the unconditional love of their fans. These Chiefs are special. They’re led by a generational talent and coached by a standup guy who has the respect of everyone in the league. Take it from me, a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan: This is an era you want to savor.

While most of the sporting press focuses on the field, we dedicated much of this issue to celebrating the red-clad fans. Sure, we’ve got some X’s and O’s in the form of an analysis of what this team needs to do to repeat a Super Bowl win (page 54). But the heart of this issue is the diehards, from an annotated tour of one superfan’s game-day ride (page 58) to a map of some of the most unique Arrowhead tailgating crews (page 62). Some of the folks featured in this issue are flying the same tailgating flags their grandfathers brought over from the old Municipal Stadium and sitting in the same seats at Arrowhead that their family has occupied exclusively since Hank Stram was patrolling the sideline. We’ve also got a look at the massive cultural impact of Patrick Mahomes (page 60) and a bandwagon-busting quiz that only the most loyal, longtime fans will ace (page 57). These are tough times, that’s for sure. But Kansas City has been blessed with an enviable bright spot, and we hope this issue will help you find ways to enjoy this very special time just a little more. Sincerely,

Martin Cizmar, Editor in Chief martin@kansascitymag.com

NUMBERS FROM THIS MONTH’S ISSUE

2

Jackson County commissioners who were willing to share their stance on removing the Andrew Jackson statues

PA G E 2 3

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KANSAS CITY SEPTEMBER 2020

1 year

0

Time it takes furniture artist Kelly Parker to dry a fresh-cut tree into useable lumber

Strangers who have ever sat in the Beagle family's seats at Arrowhead Stadium since it opened

PA G E 3 8

PA G E 5 8

Illustrations by Sooim Kang



Contributors

MICHAEL RUSSELL

MAT T LOE DE

Michael Russell is a reporter living in Portland, Oregon, where he typically covers the restaurant industry. Saint Cloud, the fifth album from Kansas City’s Waxahatchee, has been his go-to listen since the start of quarantine, a perfect soundtrack for having a little cry while cleaning up after his two young daughters have gone to bed. Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield spoke with Russell by phone from her Overland Park home, where the singer-songwriter has lived since 2018.

Our analysis of what the Chiefs need to do to repeat their Super Bowl victory was written by veretan reporter Matt Loede. Loede runs ChiefsGab.com, a Chiefs fan blog that’s been around since 2007. For twenty-six years, Loede has covered the NFL, MLB and the NBA. Loede is the editor and co-owner of The Sports Gab Network, which hosts a site for every NFL team. Loede personally edits the Chiefs team site. The writer has followed the Chiefs since the early eighties, celebrating the wins and despising the losses like the rest of Chiefs Kingdom.

WRITER

3

THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN THIS ISSUE

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KANSAS CITY SEPTEMBER 2020

WRITER

JACK R AYBUCK GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERN

Typography in our feature on Waxahatchee was done by summer intern Jack Raybuck, a graphic designer, photographer and videographer from Overland Park. Raybuck became interested in design and art through his love for music, and he likes to spend his free time listening to Frank Ocean and drawing. His other interests include reading, watching psychological thrillers, spending time outside and daydreaming about the beach. Raybuck is currently studying graphic design at Johnson County Community College, where he is expected to graduate in the fall of 2021.

When I met my wife, I told her, ‘Just a head’s up: We’re going to have season tickets for the rest of our lives. This is what we do on Sundays during football season.’

— Jeff Beagle on his tailgate rig

Quiz Time

Swan Dive

Order Up

How well do you know Chiefs history? Test yourself on our bandwagon-busting quiz.

A small Kansas town has been inundated with angry phone calls and threats after being featured in a Netflix documentary series.

There's a trick to getting Blackhole Bakery's standout cinnamon rolls and mochi donuts.

PA G E 5 7

PA G E 7 2

PA G E 9 0

Illustrations by Joanna Gorham


Does It Make Sense to Appeal?

Some divorce and family law matters do not settle. Instead, the case is tried in the family court. Putting the case in the hands of a family court judge can be a risky proposition. Most parties would prefer to settle outside of court, but it is not always possible. All it can take is one issue of disagreement for many parties to decide that they have no choice but to go to trial. After trial, the family court judge will issue a judgment. How this works can vary by jurisdiction and locality, but it can often take weeks or longer for a judge to render their judgment. It can take weeks because family court judges generally have to issue a written judgment that has findings of fact and conclusions of law. Some parties are happy with the results of the trial. Other parties are unhappy. In some cases, it can be a mixed bag. A party might like certain parts of the judgment and not like others. For parties who are unhappy with the results, the question for them is whether they should appeal the judgment. Appealing the ruling can prolong

the litigation. It can result in more attorneys’ fees. But the question beyond that is whether an appeal will work. Laws vary by jurisdiction. Every case can also involve different intricacies. However, in a general sense, to succeed on an appeal, a party must generally show that the family court judge erred as a matter of law or that they abused their discretion. These terms can be somewhat complicated for many to understand. But to show the judge erred as a matter of law, this generally requires a showing that the judge did not abide by the statutes, rules or existing case law. Sometimes, this does happen, but it is not always easy to show. To show the judge abused their discretion is a bit more complicated. Within the confines of statutes, rule and existing case law, there is some grey area that family court judges can navigate based on the law. Take the standard in child custody cases that these matters are to be resolved based on the best interests of the child. To determine what is in the best interests of the child, a family court judge has to weigh the evidence. The family court judge also can believe and disbelieve witnesses. Showing a judge abused their discretion is not easy, but sometimes a party can prove it.

To simplify how an appeal works, think instant replay in football. With instant replay, the question is whether or not the referee got the call right based on the play itself and the rules the referee has to apply. An appeal works largely the same way. Parties do not get to redo the trial on appeal. Instead, the appellate court is to review the transcript and legal file. In doing that, the issue is whether the trial court erred based on the evidence presented at trial. For some parties, they might have a reasonable chance of succeeding on appeal. For others, it might be difficult. Nonetheless, for parties who are considering an appeal, there are deadlines that have to be followed or else a party can waive the right to appeal. Thus, it is always critical to speak to a lawyer immediately. Stange Law Firm, PC limits their practice to family law matters including divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, guardianship, adoption, mediation, collaborative law and other domestic relation matters. Stange Law Firm, PC gives clients 24/7 access to their case through a secured online case tracker found on the website. They also give their clients their cell phone numbers. Call for a consultation today at 855-805-0595.

To schedule a consultation:

855-805-0595

WWW.STANGELAWFIRM.COM The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Kirk Stange is responsible for the content. Principal place of business 120 South Central Ave, Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105. Neither the Supreme Court of Missouri/Kansas nor The Missouri/Kansas Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or specialist designations. Court rules do not permit us to advertise that we specialize in a particular field or area of law. The areas of law mentioned in this advertisement are our areas of interest and generally are the types of cases which we are involved. It is not intended to suggest specialization in any areas of law which are mentioned The information you obtain in this advertisement is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Past results afford no guarantee of future results and every case is different and must be judged on its merits.

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SEPTEMBER 2020 KANSASCITYMAG.COM

19


Comment

S O C I A L C H AT T E R “I like Texas BBQ. They know how to smoke some meats. And their dry rubs are second to none. I prefer them over a Memphis rub any day. I just never cared for their BBQ sauces. The flavor always reminded me of watered down Tabasco. Born and raised in KC, it was hard to live [in Texas] for six years. Thank God for Colter's BBQ. Their BBQ sauce was house-made and KC style! Their hot BBQ sauce made you sweat! Going to have to check this place out. Mustard and vinegar in BBQ sauce is more a Carolina style of BBQ than Texas.” —Tony Boswell “Brilliant!! Finally something similar to Hard Eight. Love that Texas pit awesomeness.” —John Tucker

T H E B AT T L E O F T E X A S

The most controversial piece in our August issue was the month’s ’Cue Card feature on a new barbecue spot in the West Bottoms. Justin Easterwood of Chef J opened his pit in the Beast Haunted House’s old concession area just before the pandemic hit. He’s quickly made an impression with his peerless sausages and perfect beef brisket—both inspired by the Texas barbecue tradition. “I love Kansas City, but I’ve never been a big Kansas City barbecue fan because the sauces are too sweet—I’m not a big molasses fan,” he told Kansas City magazine. “I started playing with sausages and I found out about vinegar and mustard sauce, and to me that’s the perfect combination.” Those comments riled a few readers—and excited plenty of others. “Ummm, Texas style BBQ in KC... Feels weird in my mouth just saying it.” —Brian Jones “Texas style in KC… Why??” —Mike Dickey

20

KANSAS CITY SEPTEMBER 2020

“Or, in other words: ‘I don’t like BBQ, so I decided to try and ruin it for everyone by using mustard and vinegar.’” —Greg McCartney “[Chef J is] an amazing place to get BBQ where the quality is top notch. When we went, we ordered a bit of everything, and it was all amazing. Because of its quality, it’s been getting quite a lot of attention since it opened, despite it launching just prior to the Covid shutdowns.” —Abel Havea Wilkins “Whoever decided KC style is about thick, sweet, molasses sauce doesn’t know much about KC Q.” —Greg Gruendel “I’m from Texas. I’m from Austin, born and raised, and am currently living in Kansas City. Barbecue sure is different here. I’m used to brisket and it’s totally different here.” —Carlos Rivera

READERS REACT TO...

Our Best of KC issue featured some off-the-wall editors’ picks, including Big Bertha, a centuryold pool table in a Raytown billiards hall and a downtown map shop that’s pivoted to thrive in the digital era. THEY SAID...

I’ve played many a game on Big Bertha over the years. It’s a great table and a real piece of billiards history in KC.

— BRIAN PALMER

Happy to hear that Don Brink and Raytown Recreation are still around! Don helped me with my dad’s 1929 Kling billiard table. — CHRISTINA KUEBLER

Gallup Map is amazing. Great collection of early maps of Kansas City. Worth a visit! — WILL RHODES

WRITE TO US:

Kansas City

11775 W. 112th St., Suite 200 Overland Park, Kan. 66210 (913) 469-6700 EMAIL: editor@kansascitymag.com CORRECTIONS: Our Best of KC issue mistakenly misidentified Rachael Messner on the second and third references. The story also misidentified her company’s first product, which was a lip balm. We apologize for the errors.


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Call 913-490-0456 to learn more or visit Avenue81SeniorLiving.com.

SEPTEMBER 2020 KANSASCITYMAG.COM

21



The Loop L E A D I N G

T H E

C O N V E R S AT I O N

I N

K A N S A S

C I T Y

That’s a Wrap? Jackson County is named for the seventh U.S. president, Andrew Jackson, a slave owner who orchestrated the removal of Native Americans, including the notorious Trail of Tears. As the Black Lives Matter movement took over the city, a statue of Jackson outside the downtown county courthouse was spray painted with obscenities and the phrase “slave owner.” County Executive Frank White called for the immediate removal of the statue. Instead, the county legislature voted to put the issue up to a vote on the November ballot. We reached out to every member of the county legislature to ask where they stood on removal. Only two replied, Crystal Williams and Scott Burnett, both responding that they favor removal. In mid-August, the statue was cleaned and uncovered pending the result of the November vote. — B RYC E B A I L E Y Photography by Brooke Vandever

SEPTEMBER 2020 KANSASCITYMAG.COM

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The Loop

Operation LeGend

Here are the key players in the controversial Operation LeGend. BY B RYC E B A I L E Y

LEGEND TALIFERRO

TIM GARRISON

RICHARD SMITH

CHARRON POWELL

Operation LeGend is a federal law enforcement initiative happening in cities from Albuquerque to Baltimore. The namesake is LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old Kansas City boy killed on June 29 by gunshots fired into the apartment where he was sleeping. His alleged killer, Ryson Ellis, was arrested in mid-August.

Tim Garrison is the top federal prosecutor for the Western District of Missouri. Garrison has stood with Lucas and declared forcefully that the officers surging into the area will be solely focused on violent crime. “This is not Portland,” Garrison said. “This has nothing to do with anybody’s exercise of their rights to protest. We are simply here to address the unprecedented level of violence.”

While Lucas and Garrison have sought to diffuse tensions locally, Kansas City Police Chief Richard Smith has stepped into the fray. Smith tied the city’s spate of shootings to Black Lives Matter protests. He went on Fox News to paint a scary picture of the city. The Kansas City Star has called for his removal. “The chief is a throwback to another time,” the paper said. “He’s an old-school cop who has shown no sign of understanding that the old school is no longer in session.”

One staunch defender of Operation LeGend is Taliferro’s mother, Charron Powell. She has told protestors that the operation is solely meant to investigate unsolved murders in the city and encouraged them to reevaluate their perspectives.

QUINTON LUCAS

Mayor Quinton Lucas was elected last year after a campaign that emphasized his plan to lower the city’s violent crime rate. This year, the already-high murder rate is up again. A few days after the shooting of Taliferro, Lucas sent a letter to Missouri Governor Mike Parson saying the city was “at a crisis point” and asking for state help. Parsons passed the letter to the feds, who announced they would send a surge of officers into the city.

24

KANSAS CITY SEPTEMBER 2020

TED WHEELER

Portland, Oregon, has been the scene of the most combustible standoffs between federal agents and citizens. Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, controls the city’s police department and oversaw weeks of escalating tensions. Wheeler has been hammered for ineffective leadership by both the right and left.“I apologize to those nonviolent demonstrators who were subjected to the use of [chemical weapons],” Wheeler said during a news conference. “It should never have happened. I take personal responsibility for it and I’m sorry.”

RAY BILLIS

Kansas City activists have expressed concern over Operation LeGend. On July 17, hundreds of protestors gathered outside of police headquarters to protest the operation. The group Black Rainbow proposed that the money spent on this operation could instead be used to fund education, hospitals and crime prevention. Organizer Ray Billis called for local officials, including Mayor Lucas, to reject any offers of federal help.

EMANUEL CLEAVER II

Although Missouri Congressman Cleaver doesn’t seem to have a problem with federal agents helping to slow violent crime, he has spoken out on the lack of communication from the administration. Congressman Cleaver told the Star that Operation LeGend may be “the best plan that’s ever been conceived if it’s real and serious and genuinely designed to be of help to Kansas City,” but that “there has to be some community work before that happens because, in the absence of communication, you open the door for imagination.”

Illustrations of LeGend Taliferro, Emanuel Cleaver III, Tim Garrison and Ted Wheeler by Katie Sloan


Let’s start healing.

We’re really looking forward to seeing you again. And we want you to know – whether you’re checking in for a check-up, needing a knee replacement, or making time for a mammogram, we’re taking every measure to keep you and your family safe when you’re here. • Social distancing in all our facilities • Temperature checks at every entrance • Masks worn by all team members and visitors • Frequent sanitizing of all spaces • Designated area for those suspected of having or those positive for COVID-19 • Limited visitation

AdventHealth.com

SEPTEMBER 2020 KANSASCITYMAG.COM

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The Loop 1. Getting the virus. Obvious, right? But it’s on their minds, even if they support going back. “I think it’s the right decision to go back,” said one teacher we spoke to. “But at the end of the day, I am worried about the virus. I’m a person that’s high risk for complications if I were to get it, as is my husband. So there’s a chunk of me that is worried about dying when I go back to class.” 2. What’s happening to economically disadvantaged students not in the classroom. “I really worry about the equity for students that we know don’t have great access to the internet and might be food insecure,” said another teacher. 3. The lack of planning by administrators. “I don’t know that I have a lot of faith in their plans, to be honest,” said a third teacher. “Because we don’t really have a clear path forward in my district right now, I worry that teachers are trying to plan for every possible outcome. And so we’re kind of planning for nothing.” 4. Doing a good job. “I’m worried about doing a good job, I think more than I’ve ever been worried about doing a good job in my life,” said that teacher. “I worry about how to do a good job for those kids, academically, obviously, but also socially and emotionally.”

Teacher Talk We arranged a candid, anonymous conversation between three KC teachers about what they expect and fear this year. BY N I C O L E B R A D L E Y

DID YOU K NOW ? The governor of Kansas told schools to not reopen before Labor Day, but Missouri has no statewide policy.

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S T U D E N T S I N S O M E A R E A S of Kansas City are now returning to classrooms for the first time since the middle of March. So many questions are being hotly debated right now. Is it safe to return to school? Do the benefits outweigh the risks, especially for students who are disadvantaged at home? What’s the best and safest way to get students back into desk chairs? What are the teachers really thinking? We wanted to know—to eavesdrop on the conversations happening in the virtual teacher’s lounge. So we arranged for three Kansas City teachers to have a candid conversation about the upcoming year. We promised the teachers total anonymity—they didn’t even know the names of the others on the line. Two of the teachers came from Kansas districts, one from a Missouri district. We have a detailed transcript of their conversation at kansascitymag.com. Here are seven things the teachers mentioned as worries during that conversation.

KANSAS CITY SEPTEMBER 2020

5. The limits of their ability to control students. “What we’re seeing from places that have opened doesn’t look good,” said the third teacher we spoke to. “I’m really worried about the personal responsibility. I can control somewhat what happens in my classroom, but hallways are really challenging. I really, really worry about passing times.” 6. The different environment of a distanced classroom. “I just keep thinking about how different it’s going to be this year if we can’t buddy up in small groups,” said one of the teachers we spoke to. “The way that I’ve come to have my classroom culture is really going to take a hit this year, and that’s going to be hard. I feel like we’ve worked so hard over the past eight to ten years of getting away from being on the stage and standing in front of the class and delivering lessons that we’ve prepared.” 7. Whether parents and administrators will have their backs if something goes wrong. “You are going to hear on the news that a student has reported positive at a certain school,” said one of the teachers. “I mean, it’s going to happen. And what’s interesting is how the school or the district responds to that.” Another echoed that thought: “I really, with all of this, worry about teacher responsibility. When we get that breaking news, how is that being reported and how are parents perceiving it? Is it like, ‘Oh, that third-hour teacher dropped the ball, because the kid took off their mask in her class, so this outbreak is her fault’? I worry about how all of that is going to be perceived and communicated across the board.”

Illustration by Jocelyn Sands


Thank you, Kansas City! Lakeview Village is proud to be voted the Kansas City Region’s #1 Senior Living Community As the only true LifeCare community in the area, we have been a local leader since 1964. We offer a variety of apartment homes, garden cottages, twin homes, and luxurious villas, as well as highly rated long-term care options. Please go to LVINFO.ORG to see what makes Lakeview Village a special place for those age 62 and better. We are open for independent living tours and are taking precautions to keep you safe. We hope to see you soon!

SEPTEMBER 2020 KANSASCITYMAG.COM

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The Loop

What motivated you to write this book? There was an opportunity to write a book as part of this series that I really like. It’s sponsored by the International Association for Relationship Research and it basically is about all these different issues around close relationships, and there was a need for a technology book. You’ll have books that are exclusively about technology, and you have books about relationships, but you don’t have a lot of books that are about both.

How has the conversation around your book changed now because of Covid-19?

Why We Ghost A KU professor explains why you may not be texting your friend back in his latest book, Relating Through Technology. BY PA I G E E I C H KO R N

R E M E M B E R Z O O M H A P P Y H O U R S ? Or hosting

Easter over the House Party app with the family? As area businesses started to reopen to the public, why did we suddenly stop reaching out to our friends and family online? KU communications professor Jeffrey Hall answers just that and more in his new book, Relating Through Technology. Hall seeks to answer some of the most biting questions of our time: Does the vast connectivity provided by mobile and social media lead to more and better personal relationships or the opposite? Each of the ten chapters delve into the positive and negative effects of media on relationships, leading to the question of how technological advancement has changed our connections with each other.

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Before the pandemic, I was in the process of crafting proofs. Chapter ten focuses on what we need to do to build good practices to connect with each other. If we have all these technologies to keep in touch, what’s the best way to go about doing it? I did not expect that within weeks of that moment, we would see the amount of face-to-face communication just drop off completely. Then there were those cases where people initially reached out to their friends and had Zoom parties and Zoom get- togethers, and then people stopped doing it. Why are people like that? I think, unfortunately, a lot of people do a bad job of using the mechanisms they have in place to keep in touch with others. So interestingly, there was this kind of initial spike of, “Oh my gosh, I’m not around anybody. This is a very nerve-racking time, I need company.” And then as time went on, people were like, “I don’t want to bother. I don’t want to inconvenience anybody.” So what’s interesting is that the book really talks about these dynamics of why are we like this?

Any other big takeaways readers should keep an eye out for? I looked at all the research on how social media is bad for you. And I say overwhelmingly, the evidence is that social media is not bad for you. And that, if we had that time back, we would probably just use

it browsing the internet anyway. Yes, it is stressful to always be available through this device— and it is stressful to always try to make a perfect image and worry about what other people are going to think. And it is stressful to see all the great things other people are doing, and you may not be included. And, of course, just the raw amount of information we’re seeing through notifications and buzzes, beeps and lights. Another chapter focuses on the idea of displacement, that social media use is taking away from our face time with one another, and I would generally say, “No, it’s not the case.” But if we use our phones or other devices while we’re in the company of one another, it tends to be pretty bad. People go, “Oh, it’s ruining our entire lives” and I’m like, “Not really, but we’re not doing a great job of it.”

Do you think we’ll find our way back to communicating more online? I don’t think so. I think that it’s unfortunate. There’s really good evidence that keeping in touch with close friends, that taking the time to make phone calls or arrange FaceTime appointments with Grandma and the kids is valuable for us, and it’s good for us to spend time talking to people. We don’t keep it up for the same reasons that we don’t do a lot of things that are good for us: It’s hard to build good habits. So that’s one of the big themes of the book. I hope that people take the time to develop good practices from this quarantine time to carry those relationships into the future.


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September W H E R E

Y O U

WA N T

T O

B E

T H I S

M O N T H

18 September

CAUSE & EFFECT

This here’s emo country. And ‘round these parts, the Reggie and the Full Effect show must go on, pandemic or no pandemic— and it can, thanks to Lemonad(e) Park. As mass cancelations pummeled the summer concert season, Voltaire and recordBar teamed up to make an outdoor venue with social distancing in its DNA. Lemonad(e) Park in the West Bottoms has situated a hundred listeners a night in distanced slots by the stage and at four-top picnic tables. In September, Get Up Kid James Dewees brings his longtime side project Reggie and the Full Effect’s MicroKORG-powered pop melodies to stage. The bill also features the laid-back, jammy Black Magic Rabbit Foot. In a normal year, this would be a nice little show. Right now, it’s a special opportunity to recapture some normalcy by seeing a beloved local emo act live. GO: Friday, September 18. 7 pm. Lemonade Park, 1628 Wyoming St., KCMO. $17-$140.

Photography by Natalea Bonjour

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September W H AT

YOU

WA N T

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Helzberg Hall. A couple can slide in for fifty bucks, or you can stuff as many people as you want in your car for a hundred.

JUNIOR BROWN

September 18, 8:30 pm

TERRA LUNA

September 17-20. 7:30 pm OVERLAND PARK ARBORETUM

BAR K 5K

September 5, 8 am BAR K DOG BAR, 501 BERKLEY PARKWAY, KCMO. $40, PREREGISTRATION REQUIRED.

KC’s beloved dog bar bills this as the “premiere dog-friendly 5K in the country,” meaning this race is, essentially, the Boston Marathon of running-with-your-dog races. The route is on the Riverfront Heritage Trail and gets you up close to several bridges while including only one road crossing. In order to make the race socially distant, this year’s version will be time-trial style. The fastest little and big dogs will be recognized.

BASSOONS ON THE BOULEVARD

September 17, 6 pm BOULEVARD DRIVE-IN, 1051

MERRIAM LANE, KCK. $50 FOR

UP TO TWO PEOPLE, $100 PER

CAR. NO BUSES. ICM.PARK.EDU.

Park University is one of the world’s great incubators of new classical musicians,

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with students from around the world coming to Platte County to practice their craft under the tutelage of a master musician, the classic European apprenticeship model brought to the bluffs above the Big Muddy. The program is run by Uzbekistan-born pianist Stanislav Ioudenitch, who holds a yearly concert featuring students, faculty and friends from around the world. This year’s version has been revamped using what the program describes as “a piece of Americana,” KCK’s Boulevard drive-in theater, which will screen a prerecorded concert filmed in

& BOTANICAL GARDENS, 8909

W. 179TH ST., OVERLAND PARK.

$25 IN ADVANCE, $30 AT

THE DOOR.

The combination of a Cirque du Soleil-style performance, music festival-worthy light show and colorful rolling gardens makes for a sensoryloaded and social distancingfriendly experience we could all use during this time. Watch aerial acrobats flip and dive through the landscape and dancers chassé through the gardens in this immersive walkthrough production put on by Kansas City’s own performing arts studio, Quixotic.

KNUCKLEHEADS

KANSAS CITY, 2715 ROCHESTER

ST., KCMO. $20.

If you want to get a feel for Junior Brown’s brand of joke-thick throwback hillbilly music, listen to his classic “My Wife Thinks You’re Dead,” a philandering husband’s desperate goodbye to a hard-partying ex-sweetheart. “Somebody spread the rumor that you had lost your life— least that’s the way I heard it, and what I told my wife,” he sings in a rich drawl. “We’ll have to say hello, maybe, some other time instead, ’cause you’re wanted by the police and my wife thinks you’re dead.”

CRASH TEST DUMMIES

September 25, 8 pm THE MADRID THEATRE, 3810 MAIN ST., KCMO. $46-$80.

Mmm mmm mmm mmm once there was this band who had a hit single in 1993, and nearly thirty years later, they’re still touring. Mmm mmm mmm mmm.

BarK photo by Anne Marie Hunter, all other photos provided or from respective Facebook pages


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

KANSAS CITY’S LUXURY

APARTMENTS/CONDO GUIDE

Your guide to the best apartments/condos in the Kansas City metro area. Apartment living in Kansas has significantly evolved. Gone are the days of settling for bland boxes with no style and little personality. Today’s apartment options offer upper-class style, with lavish services and amenities in great locations within resort-like and luxury environments. Whether you wish to live in Downtown Kansas City or one of its vibrant suburbs, these properties offer more than a place to live, they provide you with the lifestyle you want and deserve. 44 Washington

551 W. 44th Street, Kansas City, MO 64111 816-412-8490 | 44washington.com

44 Washington is a pet-friendly apartment complex in the North Plaza/South Westport neighborhood and offers residents a resortstyle pool with a swim-up bar, Bark Park, Paw Spa, Flex Working Space, 24-hour on-call maintenance, garage parking included with every home, a special Resident Perks Program for discounts at local stores and restaurants, Valet Trash service, a Spa with tanning room and on-call massage therapist, and so much more! 44 Washington is also the only apartment complex in the downtown Kansas City market that offers smart home technology in every home. When residents move-in, they are welcomed with an Amazon Alexa, which is pre-programmed to turn on lights, control select electrical outlets and control the thermostat. Plus, residents can simply say, "Alexa, pay my rent" on the 1st of the month to process rent payments.

The Residences at CityPlace

Royale: 10501 W 113th Street, Overland Park, KS 66210, 913-712-9866 | theroyaleatcityplace.com Apex: 10401 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66210, 913-396-7822 | theapexatcityplace.com

The Residences at CityPlace offer residents a truly one-of-akind living experience. There is no other pool in the area like The Royale's, and soon, The Apex will feature not one, but two outdoor courtyards with a luxury pool, sun deck, running track, outdoor game center, Bark Park, and so much more! The Apex, opening late this fall, will also offer residents a mixed-use building. This means that just steps from their door, residents of both The Royale and The Apex will be greeted with fine dining and shopping options. The Apex will also feature all smart home apartments, where residents can simply say, "Alexa, I'm home" to turn on the lights, the thermostat, and select outlets! The Residences at City Place are petfriendly apartment homes in the growing City Place neighborhood off of I-69 in Overland Park. Currently, The Royale offers residents a gorgeous resort-style pool, a Bark Park, a Paw Spa, 24-hour on-call maintenance, Valet Trash service, a Spa with tanning room and on-call massage therapist, and so much more! Once The Apex opens, it will offer residents all the amenities of The Royale, plus a two-story Great Hall, Private Wine and Dining Lounge, and a full in-house Salon. Everything you could ever need is at your fingertips at The Residences at CityPlace!

LISTING 44 Washington 551 W. 44th Street, Kansas City, MO 64111 (816) 412-8490 44washington.com

Arterra KC 2100 Wyandotte St. Kansas City, MO 64108 (816) 471-0222 arterrakc.com

Brookside 51 5100 Oak St. Kansas City, MO 64112 (816) 839-4414 Brookside51.com

City Club Apartments – Crossroads Kansas City 1989 Main St. Kansas City, MO 64108 (816) 666-8408 CityClubApartments.com/KC1

The Kessler Residences 4851 Meadowbrook Parkway Prairie Village, KS 66207 (913) 381-8000 thekesslerresidences.com

The Residences at CityPlace Royale: 10501 W 113th Street, Overland Park, KS 66210 (913) 712-9866 theroyaleatcityplace.com Apex: 10401 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66210 (913) 396-7822 theapexatcityplace.com

The Residences at Park Place 5280 W. 115th Pl. Leawood, KS 66211 (913) 317-5155 liveparkplaceleawood.com

Sonoma Hill 8875 Maurer Court Lenexa, Kansas 66219 (913) 492-9000 sonomahill.net

Union Berkley Riverfront 1000 Berkley Parkway Kansas City, MO 64120 (816) 708-1298 unionbp.com SEPTEMBER 2020 KANSASCITYMAG.COM

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Sway C U R AT I N G

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L I F E

Eye of the Tiger Clothing designer Brice Edwards of Culture Thread shows off Kansas City spirit through luxury design. He crafts customizable streetwear and clothing with Black Lives Matter prints—Royals’ outfielder Nick Heath has been spotted sporting Culture Thread’s BLM mask—and collaborates with local DJ Ashton Martin on T-shirt designs. “My friends and I would always carefully plan our outfits in high school,” Edwards says. It was a combination of that, his marketing classes at Johnson County Community College and requests from friends that inspired him to take the entrepreneurial leap. “I was going for a Gucci vibe,” he says of the acid wash Kansas City tigerprinted hoodie, currently a best seller on Culture Thread’s website. KC Designer Hoodie, $185, culturethread.org

Photography by Brooke Vandever

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SKINCARE Face masks are now a lifestyle norm, and they have created a discouraging scenario for many: maskne. Alexia Wambua, local esthetician and founder of clean skincare line Native Atlas, has seen an uptick in the last few months in clients seeking help for skin irritation. “Most people are not asking why they’re breaking out—they are very aware that it’s from wearing a mask,” she says. Wambua says the environment between your mouth and a mask can be irritating to skin—breathing air into the enclosed space builds a hot and humid environment, creating a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to acne or rash. The cardinal rule to prevent this, Wambua says, is to use a gentle skincare routine. “Skincare is about consistency,” she says. If you are experiencing skin irritation from wearing a mask, now might not be the time to experiment with new products, ingredients or synthetic fragrances. Another tip for reducing maskne is to make sure that all makeup comes completely off when you’re cleansing your face. Also, use masks made of breathable

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BEAUTY

Face Value How to alter your skincare and beauty routines around face masks. BY N I C O L E B R A D L E Y

FA C E M A S K S will be a part of everyday life for the foreseeable future. And with everyday wear, many people are experiencing skin irritation and makeup frustrations they’ve never faced before. Whether you’re a victim of mask-induced breakouts or your makeup seems to always find its way onto your mask, here are some mask-care tips from the pros.

fabrics—like lightweight cotton or a performance wicking fabric—and switch it out with a clean one every day or two. “It’s good to have a couple masks and swap them out so that you can wash them frequently,” Wambua says. “That way you’re not constantly putting on a mask that has oils, bacteria, grime or makeup already on it.”

MAKEUP With masks now an essential part of our getup, beauty routines may need some adjustments. Professional bridal makeup artist Shani Overfelt says that when it comes to face makeup, now is not the time to go heavy. Try to stick with a lighter foundation formula and buff it into the skin with a brush instead of just

coating the surface. When applying foundation, Overfelt suggests “avoiding the tip and bridge of your nose because it will most likely rub off.” She says to also be sure that foundation color is almost identical to your skin tone— that way if it does rub off on a mask, it’s not noticeable on your face. Masks can make it hard to detect emotions, hence why “smizing”—smiling with your eyes—has become an everyday phrase. To help accentuate your eyes with makeup, Overfelt recommends using eyeshadow colors that complement your eye color. “Think about the color wheel,” she says. “The opposite of the color you want to emphasize is what you should look at. For example, with my bluishgreen eyes, I find the biggest impact in purples, like plums and burgundy colors.” And as for creamy lipsticks and sticky lip glosses? Since they’ll likely rub off on your mask, avoid those for now. Instead, Overfelt recommends a matte lipstick formula, lip stain or lip pencil—all of which won’t budge under a mask—paired with a blot to eliminate excess oil on the lips.

Illustrations by Katie Sloan


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Kelly Parker spent a year reading back issues of Fine Woodworking magazine.

The Wood Life A chemist-turned-woodworker in Parkville makes sentimental furniture pieces. BY N I C O L E B R A D L E Y

W I T H I N A M I N U T E of walking into Kelly Parker’s woodwork-

ing shop in the basement of her Parkville home, she has me sit down on a white-painted barstool with splayed legs, a mockup of a project she’d been working on. She proceeds to ask the important questions: “Are your feet comfortable if you put them on the side footrest? Or are they too low for you to be comfortable? Is it more comfortable to have a foot on either side of the footrest?” This prototype proofing process is just one phase of the pieces that Parker makes, a process that literally starts in the ground— the award-winning woodworker is known for harvesting trees from clients’ properties and making furniture out of its lumber.

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“There’s always a story that’s inherently attached to trees I’m given,” Parker says. “If you know the backstory of the timber and where it came from, then I feel like it kind of creates this bond with the piece that it’s made into.” Parker had an eighteen-year run as a chemist before beginning her woodworking journey over a decade ago. She had taken woodworking classes and participated in a few scholastic competitions at her high school, Sumner Academy of Arts and Science in KCK. Although she hadn’t woodworked in years, she says that she was always doing house tasks. (She and her husband built their Parkville home from the ground up, a three-year project.) She lets it be known that full-time woodworking was an uncharted territory she was navigating blindly. “I am usually a gal with a plan, man,” she says. “I’ve got parachutes and bungees. And I just ran for the edge of the cliff and I dove.” Parker says she spent her first year reading back issues of Fine Woodworking magazine, taking classes to fine-tune her skills, turning her basement into a workshop and researching tools to outfit her shop. Parker then flipped the switch on the left side of her brain and honed in on creative approaches in wood design. Her trademark is steam bending, a technique where wood is exposed to heat and moisture to make it pliable to bending. This practice generates her signature sculptural contemporary look: “I just don’t do right angles,” she says. “Everything is curved.” To-be-used lumber is kept in drying sheds in Parker’s backyard. She tells customers that it takes about a year to go from log to lumber. Once the moisture content of the wood is at about fourteen percent, she brings it into her shop to dry to ten percent. Parker has multiple projects going at a time, but there’s one that she’s particularly stoked about: a tree gifted to her from famed KC painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton’s estate, which is currently drying its way into lumber. She doesn’t know what she wants to do with the Benton wood yet, but she knows that whatever it is will have meaning. “That tree cannot be turned into cutting boards or tchotchkes or firewood,” she says. “I have to honor that tree and where it came from.”

Photography by Brooke Vandever


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Farm-Bred This modern farmhouse kicks it up a notch. BY N I C O L E B R A D L E Y | P H OTO S BY L AU R I E K I LG O R E

1

1

S A R A N O B L E of namesake interior design firm Noble Designs says that this modern home in rural Johnson County was a little different than a typical clients’ home in Leawood or Waldo. By that she means it wasn’t unusual to see farm animals in and around the home—for instance, a young lamb named Corona trotting through the house as if she were a golden retriever. The lamb, who was born around the start of the pandemic, was in a litter of three. For a mother sheep, that’s a lot to manage. So the homeowners, a family of four, brought the lamb into their newly built Stillwell

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farmhouse, where it loyally follows the family around. The modern farmhouse-style home was designed and built by Todd Hill Homes in 2018 on a piece of land that’s been in the homeowners’ family for over a century. Noble and her co-designer Ruth Barton were hired early on to help choose finishes and layouts that worked for the farming family. The home’s exterior boasts a clean, white and black design. The welcoming front porch features a rocking chair and is fenced in by live wood columns. When you step inside the front doors, you’re greeted by charming accents and pops of pattern and color.

F A M I LY R O O M

When it came to the family room, Noble wanted to bring attention to the structural architecture of the coffered ceiling and brick fireplace. She kept the color palette warm and traditional with leather chairs, a rustic wooden glass cabinet and a gray rug. The sunny yellow accents are heightened by the flooded natural light that the room’s many windows bring in.


2

BREAKFAST NOOK

When the house was built, this space between the kitchen and living room had two static columns. “We decided to do a built-in bench between them and then designed a wood paneling to go around it to give it a nice, kind of concealed look,” Noble says. The airy, dropped side walls allow you to see into the rooms on either side while sitting at the table. The largescale printed Roman shades add color and interest. 3

KITCHEN

The star of the kitchen, in Noble’s opinion, is the backsplash tile. The soft curves of the gray open-shell print give the room an added decorative punch. She loves the robin egg blue-painted island base, too, which adds a tasteful pop of color against the white cabinets. “The wood and black iron on the barstools, pendant light fixtures and cabinet cup pulls also tie in kind of an industrial look,” Noble says. When it comes to picking island light fixtures, she says scale is everything. “People tend to go too small with their kitchen pendant lights.” 4

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POWDER ROOM

Noble says the vintage-vibe vanity in the powder room is a Restoration Hardware find that contrasts favorably with modern, playful accents like lampshade sconces, cross handles on the faucet, fresh Schumacher butterfly- and bird-printed wallpaper and a decorative mirror. “We love doing a framed mirror,” she says. “That’s probably what we’re doing a good seventy-five percent of the time in bathrooms.”

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SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

PARADIS 42

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SPONSORED CONTENT

T

he drive from Kansas City to Ridgedale, Missouri, is about three and a half hours. The southbound route passes through a number of charming towns and past a bevy of billboards promising untold riches in the back of antique shops. Green pastures give way to an increasingly rugged terrain dotted with towering oak, pine and dogwood trees. It’s a pleasant enough jaunt down Route 86, but the real joy of the trip is the final destination. Once you’ve passed under an archway emblazoned with the words “Welcome to Paradise,” you’ll know you’re there. Big Cedar Lodge is sprawled out over 4,600 acres, the property smack dab in the middle of prime Ozark territory on the shores of Table Rock Lake. The spread of polished buildings, glittering blue lakes and landscaped foliage framed by mountains is breathtaking—and it is just the beginning.

E

IN THE OZARKS

LEFT:

ABOVE:

Cabins tucked away into the rugged landscape of the Ozark Mountains.

Perched high on the property, Falls Lodge is a grand, rustic lodge offering breathtaking views.

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SPONSORED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

GLA M PING —A N D THEY M EA N IT Even if you’ve come to Big Cedar Lodge with a specific activity in mind—worldclass golfing, perhaps, or a family vacation taking advantage of Fun Mountain—it would be easy to be overwhelmed by the countless activities and amenities the resort has to offer. Upon check-in, your concierge will outline the most crucial information: the route to your sumptuously appointed digs, the most popular attractions and restaurants, where to find the various outdoor and indoor pools, how to get to the beach and marina, how to get to the rental canoes and boats, how to access the golf courses. There are plenty of activities to cram into your vacation schedule—but first, you’ll need to unload your luggage. Last year, Big Cedar Lodge made a notable addition to its lineup of Ozark-inspired cabins, the ones that feature impressive vaulted ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces and shower-steam rooms. Minutes from the main camp, along the shores of Table Rock Lake, Camp Long Creek was introduced, with fifty-six units of nature-based accommodations: cottages, shepherd’s huts and luxury glamping tents.

Enjoy your morning coffee on your private balcony overlooking the glittering blue waters of Table Rock Lake.

The cottages have all the contemporary features you’re accustomed to, like modern kitchens with high-end appliances, fine beds appointed with plush linens and jacuzzi bathtubs, as well as rustic touches like screened-in porches and s’mores kits for guests upon arrival. The huts are slender, with pretty kitchenettes (enviable farmhouse sinks included) and cozy queen beds. The glamping tents are marvels: Canvas tent walls are upheld by sturdy support beams, and they conceal king beds beneath chandeliers with full electricity to support a fridge and the essential coffee machine. Enjoy your morning coffee on your private balcony overlooking the glittering blue waters of Table Rock Lake, and when night falls make good use of that s’mores kit with your personal fire pit. Glamping means you have a private bathroom with a shower, of course, but make sure you take advantage of your outdoor tub, perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine while you gaze at the stars and listen to the hum of cicadas. Camp Long Creek is ideal for guests interested in water sports. Long Creek Marina features an outdoor pool, beach access and rentable boats and sport equipment. Catch your dinner—the fish are always biting at Table Rock Lake, particularly the bass—or treat yourself to a sunset dinner yacht cruise on the elegant Lady Liberty.

FOR GOLF A N D GLORY Golf is a beautiful game. Even without the clubs and balls, it would be beautiful: Ambling along a manicured green, blades of grass still flecked with morning dew while delicate birdsong welcomes you to the day. It would be enough to just stroll along the course, especially if that course is Payne’s Valley. Payne’s Valley is the newest addition to the list of world-class golf courses at Big Cedar Lodge. The a ninteen-hole course was built to showcase the natural beauty of the Ozarks and has the distinction of being the first public golf course in the U.S. by the legendary Tiger Woods and his firm, TGR Design. It is a spectacular family-friendly design, made for players of every skill level to enjoy the game amid the backdrop of the majestic Ozark Mountains. The landscaped green is breathtaking. There are exposed rock outcroppings

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Payne’s Valley, the first ever public access course designed by Tiger Woods, is set to open this fall.

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KANSAS CITY SEPTEMBER 2020

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that are, of course, designed strategically for golfing, with winding streams and cascading valleys lined with trees. For a golfer, the possibilities are endless: Experienced players can challenge themselves with creative shots from the sprawling fairways. The game ends with a par-three hole designed by Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge, culminating on an island green shrouded by waterfalls. Payne’s Valley is the fifth golf course at Big Cedar Lodge. It joins the ranks of the Tom Fazio-designed Buffalo Ridge course (named second Best Public Course in Missouri by Golfweek, second only to Ozarks International), the Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed Top of the Rock (perched high above Table Rock Lake), the family-friendly Mountain

Top Course (a thirteen-hole par-three short course with stunning views) and Ozarks National (named the Best New Public Course in America by Golf Digest and Best Public Course in Missouri by Golfweek). It’s no wonder that last year GOLF Magazine named Big Cedar Lodge as the number one family resort in North America. One of the great pleasures of golfing is the setting in which you play. The courses at Big Cedar Lodge are nothing short of idyllic, and as you shoot that sun-dappled white ball across the green, do not be surprised by the feeling of serenity that sinks down to your bones. It doesn’t matter if you’ve parred the hole or not: What matters is that you’re breathing in the crisp Ozark air as the sun caresses your cheeks. That’s paradise.


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Soak in the sunset from the highest elevation point in Taney County. RIGHT:

The Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail is the perfect appetizer before heading to Top of the Rock for dinner.

The courses at Big Cedar Lodge are nothing short of idyllic.

A CONSERVATION IST ’ S DR EA M Johnny Morris’ name is everywhere at Big Cedar Lodge. Seeing as he’s the lodge’s founder (and the man behind Bass Pro Shops), that’s no surprise. But his legacy as a conservationist deserves particular attention: Last year, he was awarded the National Audubon Society’s Audubon Medal, one of America’s most prestigious conservation awards. Morris has spent his life working to preserve wildlife and wild places for future generations, and there is perhaps no better example of this work than Big Cedar Lodge’s expansive acreage. Between cleaning Table Rock Lake out of all its fish and setting golf records, take the time to explore the two-and-a-half-mile Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail. As always, Big Cedar Lodge promises convenience above all things: You’ll enjoy a close-up look at some of the Ozark’s natural plants, animals and rock formations—all from the comfort of a golf cart that you can drive yourself. Go ahead, wear flip-flops. Trick your kiddos with red buckeye, which gets its name from the white scar on the seeds, mimicking the eye of a male deer. In the spring, the buckeye’s red flowers draw hummingbirds. Black-eyed Susans grow wild here, and so does the white dome hydrangea. Flower and butterfly enthusiasts will consider this a sanctuary. Stop the cart and hop off to get a closer look at the naturally formed rock shelters jutting out from the sides of the earth: Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans and early settlers took refuge in the cool shadows of these very structures. The view hasn’t changed much since then. The sound of waterfalls slick against the limestone is soothing, enough to offset the excitement of seeing a native fox, raccoon or woodchuck.

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The Lost Canyon Cave is the centerpiece of the trail, and it is a wonderful stopping point, thanks to the convenient Bat Bar at the entrance, where fresh-squeezed strawberry lemonade (or vodka lemonade, if that’s your pleasure) is poured into a plastic cup, to be enjoyed for the rest of your journey. Big Bear Cave, on the other hand, is awe-inspiring, with toothy stalagmites extended from ceiling to floor. It is simultaneously dangerous and elegant: Extending a hand into the depths is like reaching into a bear’s mouth. There’s no risk of being bitten, though, unless you’re counting the nature bug.

The views at Big Cedar Lodge are spectacular no matter where you’re at.

A MOUNTAIN OF FUN Fun Mountain is an indoor facility built to appease the child living inside us all—as well as actual children. Here, you can get lost in a four-thousand-square-foot arcade boasting over sixty video and arcade games, both modern and vintage, tackle an interactive climbing adventure, beat the heat with an indoor golf simulator, zip around in a bumper car, dominate at laser tag and sharpen your pool skills. Given all the games—and the pirate ship suspended from the ceiling, complete with climbing ropes—you’d be forgiven for thinking Fun Mountain was designed by Peter Pan’s rambunctious lost boys. The show-stopper is, of course, Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl. Walking into this bowling alley is like being blessed with mermaid vision. The sixteen lanes are cast in deep oceanic blues that shift like waves, and the sharks, fish and other sea creatures suspended from the ceiling move with the water. It’s enough to make you feel like you’re sending bowling balls down a dock at the bottom of the sea.

LEFT:

Grab a drink at the Bat Bar before riding through this stunning cave. BELOW:

The Buffalo Bar is your picture perfect destination for world-class cuisine in the Ozarks.

Get a bottle of pinot noir and order a wood-fired pizza or a perfectly seared filet mignon. Sunsets here are an event. As the sky darkens, the jazz band will introduce a new guest: a bagpipe player, whose rendition of “Amazing Grace” pays homage to golf’s Scottish roots and serves as a stirring salute to the setting sun. As the last note lingers in the air, a Civil War cannon is fired, the great boom echoing throughout the trees. But the cannon doesn’t have to signal the end of your night. Below the Buffalo Bar, find the End of the Trail Wine Cellar. Get yourself a glass of something—wine, of course, or take advantage of the exceptional whiskey and Scotch offerings—and explore the underground quarry. There’s a large fire pit overlooking the grounds, and in the air, nothing but peace. Speaking of peace: Everything about Cedar Creek Spa suggests that it is a sanctuary for your spirit, much like Big Cedar Lodge itself is a sanctuary of Ozark wilderness. Here, between moments of explosive joy— the satisfaction of parring a hole on Payne’s Valley’s immaculate green, the thrill of “underwater” bowling, the excitement of discovery on the Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail, the sublime pleasure of toasting to a heart-soaring sunset—you’ll find tranquility unlike anything else. It’ll stay there, just for you, until you return again.

DIN N ER W ITH A V IEW The views at Big Cedar Lodge are spectacular no matter where you’re at, but they are perhaps most enjoyable when you are sitting at one of the plush leather chairs on the veranda of Buffalo Bar. Here, tables look across the view of Table Rock Lake, and if you are lucky enough to book a table for dinner, you can watch the crystal-blue waters shift to reflect the glowing pinks, oranges and purples of the sky. Everyone here is in a good mood, from fellow diners to staff, and it is infectious.

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FAN GUIDE 2020

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FOOTBALL


YOUR ULTIMATE FAN GUIDE

CHIEFS It’s only been seven months since the Chiefs hoisted the Lombardi trophy for cheering crowds gathered outside Union Station. Yet it feels like a lifetime ago. Well, get ready because after a rough offseason—for humanity, not the Chiefs—football returns this month. Here’s your ultimate fan guide to what’s sure to be a wild season. BY BRYCE BAILEY, MARTIN CIZMAR, MATT LOEDE AND JORDAN MEIER PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEREMEY THERON KIRBY AND SAMANTHA LEVI ILLUSTRATIONS BY NATALIE RICE AND KATIE SLOAN

INSIDE 54 What will it take for the Chiefs to repeat as champs? 56 Meet the only man to ever serve as team mascot KC Wolf. 57 Test your Chiefs knowledge with this quiz.

58 An annotated guide to one superfan's bus 60 The cultural impact of Patrick Mahomes 62 Arrowhead tailgating, mapped 64 How Chiefs players spent their offseason

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FAN GUIDE 2020

A N A LY S I S

TOUCHDOWNS

2019 S TATS

TOUCHDOWNS ALLOWED

Average points per drive CHIEFS OPPONENTS

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO REPEAT?

Six keys to Mahomes and Co. becoming the first NFL team in fifteen years to win back-to-back Super Bowls

51 36

1.9

2.62

FIFTY YEARS WAS A LONG WAIT. But it sure felt worth it back on February 2 as Patrick Mahomes hoisted the Lombardi trophy high over the crowd in Miami. Nothing about the Chiefs in 2019 was normal. The team fell behind in all three playoff games, including the Super Bowl. There were some concerning moments, particularly when the Chiefs trailed the Houston Texans 24-0 before rallying to score fifty-one points and a signature win. Now it’s time to turn the page and judge whether the team is ready for a repeat performance in 2020. History does not bode well—it’s been fifteen years since the last back-to-back rings were won—but the Chiefs are returning with almost the entire team that won the Super Bowl just six months ago. Since the confetti fell, the Chiefs have locked up Mahomes with a ten-year deal worth up to $503 million dollars. National pundits are predicting the team will continue to have one of the most potent offenses in league history. Before we anoint the Chiefs champs again, there’s plenty that still has to go right for this team.

Beat the Pressure to Repeat The league’s rules favor parity through the assignment of draft picks and scheduling. That means it’s hard to stay on top. The Chiefs have a historic offense and made some solid moves on defense, bringing back a total nineteen of twenty-two starters, but they’ll have to stay focused throughout an odd training camp and season. We’ll see the team’s mettle in 2020, and it starts with a coaching staff that has to toughen this team up for what will be a tough slate of nationally televised games, starting with the opener against Houston.

Keeping Mahomes Healthy

B Y M AT T L O E D E

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Any team that loses its starting quarterback is likely going to struggle. But in the case of the Chiefs—a team that’s powered by Mahomes Magic and has invested a huge portion of their


X

X

X

X

O

O

O

O

salary cap in the QB—the club simply cannot let him get hurt in 2020. There’s always that chance Mahomes suffers a fluke injury as he did in a Thursday night win over the Broncos, but the most frequent cause of injuries is being sacked in the pocket. Tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz should keep Mahomes protected, but opponents will do whatever they can to throw Mahomes off his game in 2020, including hitting him whenever they get a chance.

Add Speed How could this team get any faster? Well, they indeed are quicker thanks to dynamic pass-catching running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, whom the team took out of LSU with its first pick. Some have compared Edwards-Helaire to former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, which is high praise. The Chiefs also hope second-round wideout Mecole Hardman can be more involved this year. The team also looked to speed up its defense through the draft by taking linebacker Willie Gay Jr. and safety L’Jarius Sneed.

Vegas gives the Chiefs six to one odds of repeating as champs, the best odds of any team.

27-3

The Chiefs' record against the AFC West over the past five years. Their divisional dominance is an NFL record.

15

Years since the last backto-back Super Bowl wins, claimed by the Patriots.

Keep Pieces in Place Look closely at the great dynasties of the past—the Green Bay Packers teams of Lombardi or Chuck Noll’s Pittsburgh Steelers—and you’ll see that rosters didn’t turn over much. The NFL was a different league before modern free agency, of course, but the point remains that those teams stayed on top through consistency. That’s what the Chiefs are trying to build in Kansas City, which we see in a roster that remains steady. Returning starters know how things work and preserve the winning culture of the locker room. The Chiefs have even kept their coaching staff intact, something you rarely see these days as the assistants from Super Bowl champions are targeted by other teams. General manager Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid have built a culture that makes people want to stay and be part of the success.

Get the Wideouts More Involved Mahomes has put up massive numbers in his first two seasons as the Chiefs starter, but he’s done it without a true number one wideout—an Irvin to his Aikmen or a Rice to his Montana. The top candidate is Tyreek Hill, a small, speedy receiver who continues to develop. He’s

19

19 of 22 starters returning

108.9

Career quarterback rating of Patrick Mahomes going into the 2020 season.

entering his fifth season, and this could be the breakout year the team has been waiting on. Two seasons ago, Hill pulled in eighty-seven catches for almost fifteen hundred yards and a dozen scores, but he regressed last season. Second year receiver Mecole Hardman is another player who’s shown flashes but hasn’t consistently dominated. In his rookie year, Hardman had forty-one grabs for five hundred yards and six scores. Veterans Sammy Watkins and DeMarcus Robinson can also make an impact, but they aren’t on the same tier. Of course, Mahomes won’t stop looking at his favorite pass catcher, tight end Travis Kelce, who led the team with ninety-seven grabs for twelve hundred yards and five scores. Kelce is a special player. Don’t expect Mahomes to stop throwing to him to force-feed the wideouts, but do look for higher expectations from that unit.

A Division to Dominate In order to repeat, the Chiefs have to make the postseason—one third of the teams that win a Super Bowl don’t. While nothing in the NFL is a given, the Chiefs’ odds are buoyed by playing in the AFC West. Last year, the Chiefs won twelve games, including a six-game sweep of a division where they beat up on the Broncos, Raiders and Chargers. They blew out the now-Vegas Raiders and allowed the Broncos to only score a combined nine points in two matchups. The Chargers were the only division foe to offer serious competition, and they didn’t come within a touchdown in two meetings. The other AFC West teams did what they could to improve this offseason, but it’s a stretch to think any of them are going to put up much of a fight. The Chargers, for example, are without longtime QB Philip Rivers, who took a free agency deal with the Indianapolis Colts. Tyrod Taylor is expected to be the opening day starter for the Chargers, eventually giving way to rookie Justin Herbert, who is leveling up after feasting on soft Pac-12 competition. The other teams in the division went a combined 19-29 a season ago, and that’s not out of the question for 2020. It’s not unrealistic to expect the team to have the division wrapped up by Thanksgiving. Regardless, it should be a fun ride, and as much as any team in recent memory, the Chiefs have a great shot at re-hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February.

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FAN GUIDE 2020

MASCOT

THE VETERAN Dan Meers has spent the last 30 years as the Mascot of the Chiefs.

BY JORDAN MEIER

D A N M E E R S H A S S P E N T M O R E hours than he can count in a mascot suit. From being Truman the Tiger at Mizzou during his college days to Fredbird for the St. Louis Cardinals immediately after and now KC Wolf for the Kansas City Chiefs, he’s spent over thirty years bringing joy to crowds with his antics. “I wake up and put on a suit and tail instead of a suit and a tie to go to work,” he says. Meers has played KC Wolf since the mascot’s creation in 1989. The Wolf was created to replace the organization’s original mascot, a horse ridden by a man dressed in Native American regalia. Meers, who got a degree in broadcast journalism, never pictured he’d make this his career. “I thought I might be here a couple years doing KC Wolf and then go out and get a real job like everybody else,” he says. “Well, thirty years later, I haven't quite got around to getting a real job yet.” Meers does all the things classic mascots do. He visits fans at their seats and tailgates, helps celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and proposals, dances around on the sidelines and does crazy stunts. “My job as a mascot is to generate excitement and enthusiasm,” he says. “The thing I love about Chiefs fans is they're excited and enthused well before they ever walk into the stadium. So they just make my job easy.” Meers has established himself as an icon not only in Kansas City but around the country. He has done events with Shaq and a commercial with Ben Stiller. He’s seen quarterbacks come and go—Patrick Mahomes was born six years after Meers began his stint as KC Wolf.

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He’s also had some hard times. In 2013, while practicing a new stunt—it involved him bungee jumping from the top of Arrowhead stadium then immediately ziplining across the field—something went horribly wrong. A zipline with too much slack caused him to fall seventy feet. Meers spent nine days in the hospital and was in rehab for six months. “I knocked a couple of seats out of the concrete,” Meers says. “Not only did I mess up the seats, they damaged my body pretty well, too. Even though it was a painful experience, I learned a lot of valuable lessons through that time. Number one, how much I love what I do.” Meers does more than tailgate appearances and heart-pumping stunts. He has a mission, and it’s to bring happiness to those around him. “We see a lot of negative,” he says. “I want to use my platform to make a positive impact.” During his time off, Meers visits orphanages from Haiti to India, bringing KC Wolf with him wherever he goes so children everywhere can experience the joy Meers can give them. “Even though most of these kids don't know who KC Wolf is or who the Chiefs are or what American football is, if they see a costumed character, you’re friends immediately,” he says. Meers has also written two books, Wolves Can’t Fly and Mascot on a Mission. (He donated every cent of profit from their sales.) He also does workshops and programs for everything from corporate retreats to elementary school assemblies. “I want to be remembered not as a mascot, but as a man who loved the Lord and loved people,” he says. “I want people to know that I love them.”


BANDWAGON BUSTER A Chiefs trivia quiz only loyal, longtime fans will ace

7

The only playoff game the Chiefs played at the old Municipal Stadium is notable for being what?

Which Chiefs great’s number was retired by the team, even though he is not enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton?

A. The longest game in league history B. The game with the most future Hall of Famers ever on the same field C. The last Christmas Day game played for 17 years D. Both A and C

A. Running Back Abner Haynes’ #28 B. Placekicker Jan Stenerud’s #3 C. Linebacker Willie Lanier’s #63 D. Linebacker Bobby Bell’s #78

C.

D.

Miami Dolphins team that, the next season, became the only perfect team in NFL history.

A. Yes B. No

A. Elvis Grbac named People’s Sexiest Athlete B. Tyler Palko top passer in Pitt history C. Rich Gannon named NFL MVP D. Dave Krieg inducted into Seattle Seahawks ring of honor

to KC. Marty Schottenheimer has somewhat famously never played in a Super Bowl—the winningest coach to never do so—while Marv Levy lost four in a row with the Bills.

4

Could Patrick Mahomes throw a football between Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium?

Which accomplishment has NOT been achieved by a former Chiefs Quarterback?

5. C. This logo belonged to the other Dallas Texans—which folded after one season and went on to become the Baltimore Colts.

A. A reenactment of the Battle of New Orleans from the War of 1812 B. Anita Bryant performing with the Southeast Missouri State marching band C. An all-star chorus performing a Disney medley D. The Pee Wee football national championship

6

B.

ANSWERS: 1. D. H.L. Hunt was an avid poker player who won a small fortune in a game in New Orleans and then parlayed that into the purchase of the richest oil field in the world from a wildcatter named Dad Joiner.

What was the halftime entertainment at the first Chiefs Super Bowl win?

10

2. D. “The First Lady of Football,” Norma Hunt has attended every single Super Bowl, along with just over a dozen men, most of them in the media.

3

A.

10. B. Tyler Palko is not the top passer in Pitt history—that’s still Dan Marino. Elvis Grbac was indeed named the Sexiest Athlete Alive by People magazine, though the editor later admitted it was an error. Even more improbably, Rich Gannon was indeed the league MVP while with the Raiders.

D.

A. Marty Schottenheimer B. Marv Levy C. Dick Vermeil D. Romeo Crennel

6. B. Sorry, even the mighty Mahomes can’t do that—it’s 476 yards between the stadiums. Mahomes has been recorded throwing 90 yards.

D. Attend every Super Bowl

C.

Which horse is Warpaint, the pinto ridden by a Chiefs cheerleader?

7. A. Abner Haynes was a standout running back for the franchise in the AFL years but has not been inducted into Canton.

awarded five double golds at the New York Interna tional Wine Competition B. Serve as principal of Richardson High School C. Serve as the GM of an MLS team

Which former Chiefs head coach won a Super Bowl as head coach of another team?

3. A. The game was played at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans and featured the Southern University marching band and a bizarre reenactment featuring Redcoats, horses and cannons.

A. Own a winery that’s been

12

9

11. D. Nick Foles won the Super Bowl the year after playing for the Chiefs. Brady Quinn has played for seven teams including the Chiefs while Case Keenum has played for eight teams not including the Chiefs (yet).

Norma Knobel Hunt, wife of Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt, is the only woman to have done what?

A. Tyler Thigpen B. Nick Foles C. Brady Quinn D. Case Keenum

8. D. The numbers worn by Montana and Gonzales are still in circulation. They were most recently worn by a pair of undrafted free agents.

B.

A. Quarterback Joe Montana’s #19 B. Derrick Thomas’ #58 C. Tight end Tony Gonzalez’s #88 D. Both A and C

Who did NOT start as quarterback for the Chiefs in the years before Patrick Mahomes?

with white splotches on brown.

2

Which Chiefs Hall of Famer’s number was NOT retired?

12. A. Warpaint is a pinto horse

New Orleans B. Shipping and storage C. Texas oil fields D. Both A and C

A.

11

St. Louis Rams before coming

A. Playing poker in

Which logo has NOT been used by Hunt’s football franchise?

8

9. C. Dick Vermeil won with the

How did Lamar Hunt’s father, H.L. Hunt, make the family fortune?

5

4. D. The 1971 AFC Divisional playoff game went on for an uninterrupted 82 minutes and 40 seconds on Christmas Day, prompting the league to discontinue Christmas games for almost two decades. The Chiefs ultimately bested a

1

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FAN GUIDE 2020

FA N S

An annotated tour of superfan Jeff Beagle’s tailgate rig

THE BEAGS BUS 1

2000 FORD E350

“It was an old folks’ home shuttle bus. We bought it and I gutted the inside.”

2

BOOZIN’ WITH BEAGS FLAG

“My buddy actually got this flag for our wedding present. When I met my wife, I told her, ‘Just a head’s up: We’re going to have season tickets for the rest of our lives. This is what we do on Sundays during football season. Just be prepared.'"

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3

JACK’S PACK FLAG

“My grandfather Jack Bywaters had season tickets since the team came—we’re on the lower level at the 50 yard line. Nobody has ever sat in our seats besides my family. His flag says Jack’s Pack. That was his flag that he flew in the exact same spot, G25, through his whole life.”

4

MISSING SIDE MIRROR

“One of my buddies got a little intoxicated—I forget which game it was—and we’d lost the game, so he decided to tackle it. I have yet to get a new mirror on it.”

5

SIDE WRAP

(PRESENTED BY JIM BEAM)

“I work for Standard Beverage, the biggest liquor distributor in Kansas. We sell Jim Beam and we sell it well. When I bought the bus and was looking to get a wrap, I reached out to my Jim Beam guy and he said, ‘Yup, throw a couple logos on it and we’ll take care of you.’ It’s a tradition that, whenever we all get on the bus, before we pull out of the driveway, we all take a shot of Jim Beam.”


Jeff Beagle is the brother of well-known KC brewer Rodney Beagle of Liberty’s 3Halves.

6

UNDERSEAT STORAGE

“We put in the bench seats because we want to pack as many as we can comfortably in there, so we can fit thirteen or fourteen people comfortably every Sunday. The underseat storage is key. That’s where we put our Coleman tailgate grill we use. That’s where we put the pop-up tents and the lawn chairs.”

7

COOLER

“The bus has a built-in slot for a big 'ol cooler. Everybody brings their own beer. We always pack the cooler full."

8

KANSAS PLATES

9

JUSTIN, THE DRIVER

“I actually bought my buddy a season ticket at a discounted rate so he would drive the bus. Our crew is pretty rowdy, so no one really wants to drive. Everybody chipped in and we made it worth his while.”

In Missouri, passengers can famously drink while riding in a normal car. In Kansas, that’s only legal in an RV.

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FAN GUIDE 2020

FA N S

THE MAHOMES EFFECT Patrick Mahomes is a cultural force in KC and beyond.

BY BRYCE BAILEY

A F T E R O N LY T H R E E S E A S O N S of professional

football, Patrick Mahomes has already become a Super Bowl champion and the emerging face of the league. He’s also fast supplanting George Brett as KC’s ultimate sports hero and growing into a cultural icon that transcends sports. 1 The Highest-Paid Player in History At the beginning of July, Patrick Mahomes signed a ten-year contract worth five hundred million dollars. By signing this extension, Mahomes became the first athlete to ever have a contract worth half a billion dollars. It’s a new bar for every athlete in every league around the world, all of whom will now aspire to be worth Mahomes Money. Mahomes started spending right after the ink was dry, buying an 788-horsepower Ferrari 812 Superfast (in an understated charcoal gray) and a minority stake in the Royals. 2 The Conversation-Altering Social Activist

In early June, Mahomes appeared in a video with several other Black NFL athletes in which they called for the NFL to make a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and apologize for previously trying to silence players. The NFL’s complicated history with the movement can be traced back to the organization’s relationship with Colin Kaepernick, who was forced out of the league after he kneeled during the national anthem. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to the video of Mahomes and company, releasing a statement of solidarity with BLM by the end of that week. As one of the league’s most identifiable and beloved stars, Mahomes had an undeniable influence on the league’s response. 3 Leading Black MVP

Mahomes is leading a new generation of Black quarterbacks in what sports writers are dubbing the “Black quarterback revolution.” Along with Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who, like Mahomes, won the league’s MVP title, Mahomes is sure to open new opportunities for young athletes following in his footsteps. 4 The Hungry Texan

It seems a little trivial by comparison, but it’s evidence of just how much water Mahomes draws around these parts: The native Texan tweeted at the Lone Star State’s favorite food chain, Whataburger, to request they put a franchise in KC, and the chain responded with a “yes, sir.” Whataburger is now eyeing a storefront in Lee’s Summit. That’s just how much pull Mahomes has. 5 The Crew

Patrick Mahomes is such a cultural force in KC that the people closest to him also have clout. Pat’s little brother, Jackson Mahomes, is a TikTok star. Likewise, Mahomes’ girlfriend, Brittany Matthews, a personal trainer and owner of her own fitness program, is a social media star with more than five hundred thousand followers on Instagram. Even Mahomes’ dogs, a pitbull named Steel and cane corso named Silver, have a prominent social media presence.

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FAN GUIDE 2020

TA I LG AT I N G

THE MOP (G25) HOW YOU KNOW YOU’RE THERE: There’s a big mop. “In the 80s, The Mop founders (Mopfathers), Randy and Dennis Stratton, were going to their regular tailgate and they got really tired of trying to tell people exactly where to go,” says current Mopper Rick Carroll. “So they found an old mop hanging in the garage and decided that they would find an extremely tall pole.” THE CREW: Sean Stratton, Kirk Lakebrink, Rick Carroll,

Cory Hernandez and other young guns took over from DRIVE the old timers in 2014. ADIUM

DU

BIN

RCLE ER CI

ST

THE SCENE: “We don't have any fancy rigs, but we

always have four to six tents all connected with your typical Arrowhead slew of food and beverages,” Carroll says. “We get there when the gates open and start smoking right away. We have a TV and PA system for entertainment—we don't mess around.”

LOT

J

CLAIM TO FAME: “We hosted a Mop wedding for two

5

people that we didn't even know at the time and we are now friends with. They're from the Atlanta area and found us via Facebook.”

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An illustrated guide to Arrowhead tailgating crews: a tradition unlike any other

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Chiefs tailgating spots and flags are often passed down for generations, like season tickets.

LOT J HOW YOU KNOW YOU’RE THERE: “We're not hard to find, with the Lot J flags flying high on the corner of Royal Way and Dubiner Circle, behind a large KC Chiefs tent with two DJs set up underneath it,” says organizer Josh Wahba. “Next to the DJ tent is a large Chiefs school bus filled with signatures from previous players. Next to that is the Game Day Trailer, which is fully equipped with TVs. Couches and chairs are out in front of it for people to take a load off.” THE CREW: Josh Wahba, Nate Morrow, Josh Schmutz and up to eight hundred other Chiefs fans—plus opposing fans. “Lot J has been arguably hosting the largest open tailgate at Arrowhead for the past seven years,” says Wahba. “We welcome fans of any team and always have opposing team fans at the tailgates.” THE SCENE: Tents, tables, cornhole games and lots of dancing hap-

pening in front of the DJ tent.

CLAIM TO FAME: “Lot J is also known for our pregame ritual, which has been a tradition in Lot J since the beginning. We are led in a pregame chant by one of the original Lot J founders, and everyone gives a toast together at the end. The ultimate 'pump you up' chant is done by hundreds,” Wahba says.

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KINGDOM WAGON (LOT A “ON THE GRASSY KNOLL”) HOW YOU KNOW YOU’RE THERE: A yellow bus is parked on top of a grassy hill in Lot A for home games. When the Chiefs are away, you’ll find the same crew assembled at The Granfalloon on the Plaza. THE CREW: Paul Goebel, Jake Hentzen, Jonah Grotz, Tim

Giblin, Eric Gormly, Jack Holbrook and KC Rudolph. The gang assembled in 2012, when the Chiefs went 2-14, and has continued on into the Mahomes era.

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Spot airport shuttle, which the Kingdom Wagon crew left yellow. “We left the luggage rack inside so we have a place to store all our tailgate gear,” Goebel says. They load it up with generators, speakers, a grill, games, tables, a fire pit and a keg of Coors Light. “Each year we’ve slowly been sprucing the bus up little by little.” CLAIM TO FAME: “For the colder games, we always have a heated tent to make those early frigid tailgates more bearable,” Goebel says. “We’ve made new friends and have met people from all over the country, even a group of Canadians that have become season ticket holders and come down for many of the home games.”

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FRONT OF LOT C HOW YOU KNOW YOU’RE THERE: “You find us by our unique homemade flags made by our crew over twenty-five years ago,” says tailgater Don Munce. “And by our 1973 Chevy panel van—the Breadtruck. We put a great wrap on the truck several years ago featuring Derrick Thomas and Arrowhead Stadium. Fans attending games and walking through Lot C have stopped for pics with our painting of Thomas signaling a safety from the eightsack game against Seattle.” THE CREW: Don Munce and longtime friends David Ferdig and Vince Hamilton, plus

Munce’s daughter and son Jessica and Ryan Munce.

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CLAIM TO FAME: “The menu is created to honor the city of our opponent,” Munce says. “If they have a signature dish or style of food, we work to make our visitors from those teams feel welcomed to Arrowhead with a taste from home—before we destroy their team. ESPN featured our roasted hog prior to the game years ago against the Washington football team. We named our hog Clinton Porkus.”

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THE SCENE: Look for folks eating—the Breadtruck takes food seriously.

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FAN GUIDE 2020

Mahomes wasn't the only Chief to get a rich new contract. Pass rusher Chris Jones got a four-year, $85 million deal.

OFF SEASON

Mitchell Schwartz Quarantine has forced most of us to become somewhat proficient in the culinary arts, but Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz has gone above and beyond with his burgers, brats, pastas and salads, all of which he shares on his Instagram. The team’s official Instagram account gave him a weekly show called Mitch in the Kitch.

Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a medical doctor. After Covid-19 took the world by storm, he headed home to Montreal to serve on the frontlines. Tardif ultimately decided to take the season off to continue his work.

Sammy Watkins Patrick Mahomes The superstar QB vacationed, relaxed and trained. He also signed a $500 million tenyear contract with the Chiefs, the richest in sports history. He’s here through 2032.

Tyreek Hill Speedy Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, aka the Cheetah, has been continuing to play competitive sports—electronically. He’s been in FIFA tournaments and Madden 20 duels with teammate Tyrann Mathieu. Hill has also been live-streaming himself playing Fortnite and NBA 2K19.

This offseason has been a time of political unrest, and many pro athletes are using their platforms to call for change, including Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins. In late June, he released a video as a part of a voting reg-

istration campaign particularly focused on urging his Florida hometown to get out and vote in the upcoming elections.

Damien Williams I’ll take Sports Trivia for $500, Alex… Wait, wrong game show. Chiefs running back Damien Williams and other NFL rising stars went head-to-head with Hall of Famers in a rousing game of Celebrity Family Feud. Trash talk between the two teams flew freely and a good time was had by all. The full episode is on YouTube, if you are curious.

Mecole Hardman Jr. Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman Jr. treated himself to a fully customized Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye following the team’s win.

Antonio Hamilton This Chiefs cornerback spent his offseason focused solely on his family—so much so that he even commemorated them by getting intricate portrait tattoos of his wife and daughters on his ribcage and forearm. The tattoos were done by @dangerdaveink in Atlanta.

DeMarcus Robinson

NOT JUST DISNEYLAND They just won the Super Bowl. What did they do next? BY JORDAN MEIER

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Big things happened in this wide receiver’s life over the break. In March, DeMarcus Robinson and his wife welcomed their first daughter, Thunder, to the world.



Katie Crutchfield found peace after moving to Overland Park—and a new level of acclaim for her project, Waxahatchee. W R I T T E N B Y Michael Russell P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y Samantha Levi T Y P O G R A P H Y B Y Jack Raybuck

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just this big pop of color, and that’s kind of what led me to put the flowers everywhere in my house and obviously write the song. If it had only been one year later it might not have happened.” Saint Cloud, which “Lilacs” appears on, has been hailed as a leap forward for Waxahatchee, an evolution from the lo-fi production and cutting introspection of Crutchfield’s earlier records toward something slower and more deliberate, a slowly unfurling landscape of spring blossoms and open roads. The New Yorker calls Saint Cloud a “talisman for the self-isolation era” and “a potent reminder of the world we will eventually return to.” Meanwhile, Crutchfield has spent the pandemic shutdown embracing her homebody nature, caring for houseplants, adding trellises to help guide her cucumber vines skyward and reading up on the importance of pruning. “Saint Cloud is an interesting moment for me,” Crutchfield says. “It’s my favorite record I’ve ever made, and I feel like it’s the best record I’ve ever made—like, objectively. It’s a good mix of ease and peace and happiness and true love in a new kind of way and also a lot of reflection on harder stuff, on healing, on the really big hard stuff.” Much of the newfound peace is tied up in the major life changes Crutchfield went through in 2018, including her move to Kansas City. The singer, who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, has been making music since she was fourteen, first drawing notice In “Lilacs,” the fourth song on the fifth album the frontwoman of P.S. Eliot, a from Kansas City’s Waxahatchee, singer- as feminist pop-punk band formed with songwriter Katie Crutchfield delivers the twin sister Allison. After that band’s breakup in 2011, Crutchfield started signature line of the signature record of our Waxahatchee and moved first to current quarantine. Brooklyn and then Philadelphia. She quit drinking after a festival “And the lilacs drank the water, and the lilacs died.” show in Barcelona in support of her “Lilacs” is a song about self-care—about forgiving yourself previous album, Out in the Storm, confor having a bad day. It’s a song about the way things that sidered buying a home in Alabama, lift you up can eventually drown you. It’s a song for having then moved to Kansas City instead, a little cry while washing the dishes, not because times are where she lives with her boyfriend, so terrible—they could be worse!—but because Crutchfield’s musician Kevin Morby, in his native singing is as delicate and hard as old porcelain and because Overland Park. change is always hard. It’s also a song about actual lilacs, “I had been living in Philadelphia for the ones Crutchfield gathered from the tree in front of her six or seven years and was energetOverland Park home, placed in half-filled Topo Chico bottles ically feeling like my time there was and used to decorate the top of her piano. coming to a close,” Crutchfield says. "I It’s been two years since Crutchfield, age thirty-one, got really missed the South and wanted sober and moved to Kansas City. Her latest record, Saint to go back, but I had also just started Cloud, came out in March to universally positive reviews a new relationship, and we were kind from the music press. It was named the second best album of of dating long distance. Honestly I just the first six months of the year by both Paste and Stereogum woke up one day and was like, ‘Oh, I and got the coveted “Best New Music” stamp from Pitchfork. live here now.’” “So, my lilac did not produce blossoms this spring,” Crutchfield knows Overland Park Crutchfield says, looking at her now famous tree from her has a “connotation for being a subfront porch. “When I wrote ‘Lilacs,’ you should have seen urb,” but she loves it for its quaint it. It was gorgeous, and there were so many blossoms. You downtown, the “amazing” Ethiopian couldn’t walk past our house and not notice it. There was

I

“Honestly I just woke up one day and was like, ‘Oh, I live here now.’”

restaurant Elsa’s, a “great” coffee shop called Homer’s and an outpost of Family Tree Nursery, which boasts a plant selection lush enough to make her musician friends in Los Angeles and New York jealous. And after spending nearly half her life touring and “getting excited about new cities,” she was happy to find a quiet place to put down roots. “I’ve seen every nook and cranny of America,” Crutchfield says, “and what I love about Overland Park is when you’re walking down the street and looking at houses, you could kind of be in any great small city in America. I could be in Portland, I could be in Austin, or I could be in Athens, Georgia. All of the salt-of-the-Earth charm is really concentrated and I really feel it when I’m here. “I love that Kansas is right in the middle of the country and it takes on the identity of several different regions—it’s sort the Plains, and it feels like Texas a little bit and the Midwest, and the weather’s so extreme that you kind of get the best of all worlds,” she says. “And I’m so close to beautiful rolling farmlands and just the country, which is where I thrive.” In the weeks before Saint Cloud’s March 27 release date, Crutchfield was “in denial” about the coming pandemic shutdown, believing her tour—including a canceled August show at Knuckleheads—would go off as planned. (Things became more real on March 11, when the NBA announced it would suspend its season indefinitely; Crutchfield, a big NBA fan, supports the Philadelphia 76ers and former Jayhawk Joel Embiid.) But even as her lilac tree failed to bloom, the past few

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months have brought unexpected surprises. The New Yorker article, written by Trick Mirror essayist Jia Tolentino, was a high point. “In my opinion, no one writes about the loneliness of the social media era that we’re in better than Jia,” Crutchfield says. Best of all, the national press picked up on songwriting legend Lucinda Williams’ deep influence on Waxahatchee’s turn from rock to something closer to country, from the front-and-center vocals to the terse lyrics that transform specific details into universal emotion. For one of her last social interactions before the shutdown, Crutchfield

Listening Guide Katie Crutchfield breaks down every song on Saint Cloud.

Katie Crutchfield wrote the songs for Waxahatchee’s fifth album in Alabama, Michigan and Kansas, snagging shambolic Detroit folk rockers Bonny Doon as backup and Bon Iver adviser Brad Cook as producer. The record sees the singer-songwriter moving away from her lo-fi roots, with lyrics addressing her newfound sobriety and twangy guitars inspired by the country musicians she grew up listening to in her native Birmingham.

OX B OW “I have a history of putting songs up front that maybe don’t sound like the rest of the record,” Crutchfield tells Kansas City magazine. “This was even called 'Intro' right until I wrote the final lyrics.” Its repeated chorus of “I want it all,” sets the context with its opening line: “Barna in white/ married to the night/What dreams become concrete, they may feel trite.” (“Barna,” a nickname for Barcelona, refers to the festival show where she decided to get sober.) CA N ’ T D O M U C H With its jangly guitar and discreet backing vocals from Bonny Doon’s Bill Lennox, this song presents a sonic version of the album’s cover art: Crutchfield reclining on a rose-filled pickup truck in a powder blue dress that could have been pulled from Loretta Lynn’s closet. “I want you, all the time,” in the chorus refers to a difficult relationship but could just as easily apply to substance abuse. F I R E Written partway through a drive from Birmingham to her new home in Overland Park, “Fire” was inspired by the sun glancing off the Mississippi River, making West Memphis, Arkansas, appear to be ablaze.

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Crutchfield has said the lyrics are a personal pep talk. L I L AC S The last song Crutchfield wrote for the album, “Lilacs” feels positively joyous after the incisive self-reflection of the album’s first three tracks, even as it deals with codependency and other hard-to-kill habits. It’s also about real lilacs, the ones the singer picked from a tree weighed down by blossoms in her front yard, placed in Topo Chico bottles and used to decorate her Overland Park home. T H E E Y E Crutchfield defined this mysterious two-word phrase in an essay commemorating the twentieth anniversary of her hero Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, her favorite album. “Being an artist is double-edged,” she wrote. “Making something out of thin air that others will take in and connect with is like having a magical power ... Being consumed by the vision, the calling of the eye, is sometimes the flip-side.” H E L L “I’ll put you through hell,” Crutchfield repeats throughout a song about the songwriter’s own role in combusting previous relationships, romantic and otherwise.

W I T C H E S This feminist anthem shouts out some of Crutchfield’s best friends and collaborators, including twin sister Allison, Snail Mail singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan and Marlee Grace, a performer who dances in the video for “Lilacs.” The fair-weather “myth” Crutchfield sings about here refers to the branding, social media and other hustles musicians must do to get ahead. WA R Written to Grace, a friend who was integral to Crutchfield getting sober, “War” is another self-reflective track that confronts the album’s twin themes, addiction and codependency. A R K A D E L P H I A With its folding chairs, American flags and trailer park fireworks, “Arkadelphia” features some of Saint Cloud's most evocative songwriting. It’s the album’s longest (and darkest) song, inspired by a friend from Alabama who has struggled with addiction. “If you get real close to the ending,” Crutchfield sings, “I hope you know I did what I could.” R U BY FA L L S Despite Car Wheels’ overarching influence, the back stretch of Saint Cloud has just as much in common with Williams’ previous album, the elegiac Sweet Old World. That includes this masterpiece, written about a friend who died from an overdose. S A I N T C L O U D Conceived as the album’s closer, “Saint Cloud” begins on the New York City subway, travels to Crutchfield’s father’s hometown of St. Cloud, Florida, and ends on a tranquil note, backed by little more than Crutchfield’s voice and a gently strummed guitar: “And I might show up in a white dress/Turn reluctance on its ear/If the dead just go on living/Well there’s nothing left to fear.” —MICHAEL RUSSELL

traveled to Nashville to meet her hero, interviewing Williams and husband Tom Overby over a dinner of catfish and butterbeans. “She answered any question that I wanted to hear the answer to,” Crutchfield says. Among their conversation topics: how to write songs that resonate after you’ve found relative peace. “I think that there is something inherently relatable to longing and pain, and I think people are always going to react to that,” Crutchfield says. “But the making of Saint Cloud made me confident that there’s a lot beyond that that I can tap into and that’s exciting to me.” After taking three years to make Saint Cloud, Crutchfield, who has compared her productivity and work ethic to Parks and Recreation’s notoriously Type A main character Leslie Knope, says she’s curious whether her sobriety has given her access to more fertile creative ground. “I usually do a record every other year, but with Saint Cloud I took two years in between,” Crutchfield says. “I got sober, and I was focused on this whole other part of my life and really had to get to a good place with that before I could even fathom making a record. That’s partially why I think that with my next record—and I hate to say this, knock on piano—but I could see myself making another record quickly, I could see myself back in the studio soon, because I’m in a flow.” As it turns out, both Crutchfield and Williams make a habit of collecting place names as much for their musical ring as their personal significance. Williams’ Lake Pontchartrain is Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee Creek, named for a river near her childhood home in Birmingham. St. Cloud is her father’s Florida hometown. “I took all that stuff from Lucinda,” Crutchfield says. Earlier this year, a summertime drive through the Kansas countryside yielded a new entry in Crutchfield’s song ideas in the Notes app: “Lone Star Lake.” “‘I’m going to use that in a song,” Crutchfield says.


“I got sober, and I was focused on this whole other part of my life and really had to get to a good place with that before I could even fathom making a record.”

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hat happened to

Fifteen years ago, ALONZO BROOKS died after attending a house party in rural Kansas. Now, the FBI has reopened the case and exhumed his body to f inally solve the case.


BY JORDAN MEIER

lonzo Brooks?

It catches your eye the minute you walk in: a portrait of him from his brother’s wedding. You may have seen it on Netflix or Facebook pages, but seeing it in person is somehow different. It’s perched next to the large TV in Maria Ramirez’s house in Topeka. The TV dwarfs the photo of

Alonzo Brooks in size, but the photo still holds your attention. He’s faintly smiling, dressed in a tux. A crisp white shirt and bow tie and a ring perched on his right hand all preserved in a slightly grainy picture bring you back to the time before everything changed for the Brooks family. Alonzo Brooks mysteriously disappeared in April of 2004 from a party in the tiny Kansas town of La Cygne. His body turned up a month later in a creek right behind the house where he disappeared, offering other puzzling details. The case has been cold since 2004, but a recently released episode on the Netflix reboot of Unsolved Mysteries has renewed interest. The FBI reopened the case, offering a hundredthousand-dollar reward and exhuming Alonzo’s body for a new autopsy in July. “A lot of families’ cases never get solved,” says Felica Brooks, one of Alonzo’s older sisters. “And some people give up. We’re not giving up.”

Where are you going tonight?” That’s one of the last things Maria Ramirez remembers asking her son before he left their Gardner, Kansas, home. “He wasn’t the type of person to just go to parties with a lot of people,” she says. “Even at family gatherings, he would keep to himself. That’s why we were surprised, to begin with, that he wanted to go to the party that night.” The house party in La Cygne attracted young people from many small towns in the area, including Paola, Spring Hill and Olathe. The majority of partygoers were from Gardner and were people Alonzo was familiar with, according to Josh Pratt, a filmmaker who has been researching the story for over six years. Alonzo and his friends Justin Sprague, Daniel Fune and Tyler Broughard were some of those in attendance. Fune and Broughard arrived at the party separately, but Sprague took Alonzo and was supposed to be his ride home. (None of Alonzo’s friends could be reached for comment by Kansas City magazine.) The white gothic farmhouse built in 1880 where the party was held was, and still is, a rental property

owned by Bradley and Janell Aust, residents of La Cygne. At the time it was rented to a twenty-something man from Gardner. It is situated just off the main road and surrounded by open fields teeming with soybeans. A barbed wire fence surrounds the back of the house while a creek lies a football field’s length away— Alonzo’s body was found in that creek a month after his disappearance. You can imagine the backyard bathed in light from the house, music filling the air and the faint illuminations of the downtown area lighting up the night sky as nearly a hundred young people dance, drink and have a good time. Alonzo Brooks, who was half-Mexican, half-Black, was reportedly one of three people of color at the party. Some witnesses told authorities he was harassed because of his race. Some of those at the party include members of the Boone family—longtime La Cygne elites. The names Pat, Jerry and Tiffany Boone often pop up online, with accounts saying they came into conflict with Alonzo Brooks at the party. (Kansas City reached out to the Boones without reply.) Their second cousin, Mandy Jenkins, who was eleven at the time, says of the Boones: “People love and people hate them.” As the night went on, Sprague, who drove “Zo” to the party, left to get cigarettes, leaving Alonzo at the party with promises he would return or help his friend find a ride home. Sprague never returned. He told law enforcement that he got lost on gravel roads. That left Alonzo, who never learned to drive, with no ride home. The next morning, he was missing, with only his shoes and hat found at the site of the party. “I knew something was wrong when I saw that he never came home,” Alonzo Brooks’ mother, Maria Ramirez, says. She remembers peeking into his room in the morning only to see Alonzo’s bed undisturbed. Her heart sank. She filed a police report that morning. She gathered with family and waited, holding their breath for answers that would never come. The Linn County Sheriff’s Office—Marvin Stites, who has since passed away, was the sheriff at the time—conducted searches of the area and tried to question those at the party about what happened, according to county officials. They brought in the Kansas Bureau of Investigation two days after Alonzo was declared a missing person.

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“I just don't see how they sleep TALK OF THE TOWN The tiny town of La Cygne takes its name from the French word swan, which is why you’ll find swans sprinkled around a downtown that consists of a Dollar General, pizza shop, hair salon and municipal building. The town takes up a total area of one and a half miles and is home to just over a thousand people. National media coverage of the Alonzo Brooks case tends to include allegations of racism, which Mayor Debra Wilson feels is unfair. “Ours is a little country city,” she says. “People seem to mix well here. I do not think we are better or worse than most every other city in America in regards

to race.” Online, however, conspiracy theories about the town’s leaders covering up the murder because it involved prominent citizens are common. “I have received a lot of hate mail to my mayor's email and so has our chief of police, who was hired after I took office in January,” Wilson says. “Local businesses receive screaming phone calls and threats. City hall receives screaming phone calls. But I still feel like it will have been worth it if this family and this young man can have answers about his death.” The Brooks family says that no one from La Cygne has been welcoming. “You could just kind of sense of tension when we pulled up—you know, the stares,” Felicia Brooks says. “It was just the whole vibe.

“I remember searches happening and lots of police cars out there,” says the current mayor of La Cygne, Debra Wilson, “but they really limited any news or real information. Gossip was all most of us ever really knew.” A month later, neither the sheriff nor KBI had made any progress in the case. The Linn County Sheriff’s office declined to comment and refused to give Kansas City copies of public records related to the sixteen-year-old case, saying that it’s “under investigation” by another agency. “We had no idea what our options were,” Alonzo’s aunt, Angela Ramirez-Cox, says. “We just did what the authorities told us and we believed in them.” “We tried to do it the right way,” says Demetria Brooks, another one of Alonzo’s older sisters. That’s when the Brooks family decided to take matters into their own hands. Billy Brooks Jr., Alonzo’s older brother, went to La Cygne and got permission for his family to run their own search. On May 1, 2004, they found a decayed body covered in brush on the bank of the creek, right behind the farmhouse—an area that any proper search by law enforcement would have previously covered. According to the family, it’s not clear to authorities whether Alonzo’s body was in the creek before it was found or if it was moved there later. But his brother notes that Alonzo’s body looked well preserved—certainly not like he was out in the elements for over a month. The bank of the creek is steep and obscured by trees and brush, but today the creek is relatively shallow and calm. There is trash scattered everywhere. Beer cans, bricks, beads and glass remind you that in the past this creek has flooded— but in 2004 it didn’t. The family used search dogs and wore orange vests as they trudged through woods and fields. It was about an hour and twenty-five minutes into their search when they found Alonzo’s body. His brother, father and uncles all scurried down the bank to his body. Demetria Brooks remembers photographing the scene from the edge of the bank with her sister, Esperanza Roberts. “Essie [Esperanza] fell to her knees and was like, ‘I can’t,’ and she handed me

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the camera,” Demetria Brooks says. “I remember leaning over the edge trying to get as much as I could. I almost fell. They had to pull me back.” “I didn’t think we were going to find him that day,” Angela Ramirez-Cox says. “I thought we were going to leave empty-handed. Which would be worse, you know, not being able to bury him.” An autopsy conducted at the time—standard protocol in such disappearances—was not able to conclude how Alonzo died. Foul play has been suspected, but the original autopsy done by Dr. Erik Mitchell found no signs that Alonzo had fallen or been beaten up. There was no water in his lungs to indicate drowning. His throat was too decayed to indicate whether he had been strangled. However, there’s reason to question the rigueur of the autopsy. Mitchell, the Douglas County coroner at the time, had relocated to Kansas after being investigated for misconduct as the chief medical examiner in upstate New York. An Associated Press article from 1993 states that Mitchell had engaged in misconduct, including harvesting organs without family permission and improperly storing skeletons in his office. Mitchell was not charged with a crime but was asked to resign. He then moved to rural Kansas, where he worked from 1996 to 2018. For their part, the Brooks family and online sleuths believe it highly unlikely that Alonzo wandered out to the relatively shallow creek, tripped and fell only to be left undiscovered for a month. They also believe someone who was at the party knows the truth. “I just don’t see how they sleep at night,” Felicia Brooks says. “Sooner or later, your conscience is going to get to you.”

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he Brooks family says they pushed and pushed law enforcement for answers in the weeks after discovering Alonzo’s body. But even with all their begging, the KBI and FBI had to move on to other


cases—Wichita’s BTK killer had recently reemerged—and Alonzo’s suspicious death was ruled a cold case after only one month. “I went up to KBI headquarters in Ottawa and talked with an agent there,” Billy Brooks Jr. says. “He said, ‘We don’t have any more information; the FBI has picked it up,’ and they were basically off the case.” “If you get assigned a case, my thing is you need to get off your ass, go up there and start questioning people,” Felicia Brooks says. “And for it to be closed within a couple of months—that just doesn’t even make sense.” After the case was labeled cold, the family remained diligent in trying to apply public and private pressure to the law enforcement agencies. “It was like shouting into a void at times,” Felicia Brooks says. Then, in 2017, everything changed. Angela Ramirez-Cox, who runs the Facebook page “Justice for Alonzo” and coordinates all media interviews for the family, was contacted by someone with the Unsolved Mysteries production team, which was shooting a reboot of the series that ultimately landed on Netflix. The show was years away from hitting airwaves, but producers had slotted the Brooks case for one of the first few episodes. Angela Ramirez-Cox says she was cautious at first. “I said, ‘If we do this, I don’t want you to get us going and then we don’t hear from you,’” Angela Ramirez-Cox says. “And that’s what happened.” Then, in April 2019, interviews were scheduled, shoots set up and before they knew it, Alonzo Brooks’ episode was aired. The case eventually caught the attention of the top federal law enforcement agent in Kansas, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister. “His death certainly was suspicious, and someone, likely multiple people, know(s) what happened that night in April 2004,” McAllister said on June 11. “It is past time for the truth to come out. The code of silence must be broken.” The Netflix episode premiered on July 1 at midnight. The next day, Kansas City magazine gathered with the family in Maria Ramirez’s living room. The family all looked tired and emotionally drained. “I just started crying,” Maria Ramirez says. The episode has spawned national media coverage and the reopening of Alonzo’s case.

Alonzo Brooks (bottom left) with his siblings. From top left, clockwise: Felicia, Esperanza, Demetria, Alonzo, Billy Jr.

at night.”

It’s been covered by news organizations from Dateline to CNN, and there are Reddit threads with hundreds of posts theorizing about what happened to Alonzo and calling for justice. “We just hope this all points us in the direction of who did it—someone who knows someone who did it, someone who knows something,” Felica Brooks says. But not all that coverage has been productive. Bloggers and true crime geeks all think they know who killed Alonzo and why, prompting them to send death threats to the town and people involved. The FBI, which is actively investigating Alonzo’s death, is offering a one-hundred-thousand-dollar reward to anyone with any information. The FBI exhumed Alonzo’s body in hopes that further study may provide clues. The body was exhumed on July 22; no new information had been disclosed to the family as of press time.

C

overage of Alonzo Brooks’ case isn’t going to end with the Netflix episode. Filmmaker Josh Pratt has been working on a project for about six years and is planning to release an in-depth investigative podcast about what happened. Pratt, a Kansas native from Paola, remembers Alonzo’s story when it happened in 2004 and felt compelled to look into his story. “For so many people, especially in Kansas, myself included, going to a barn party or a field party is a rite of passage,” he says. “But no matter what happened, everyone always came home in one piece. Everyone else always came home. Alonzo Brooks did that same thing I grew up doing, but he didn’t make it home.”

Alonzo was just twenty-three when he went missing. His family still has piles of funny stories about him. Sitting in a circle in the living room, Maria Ramirez, Billy Brooks Jr., Felicia and Demetria Brooks, and Angela RamirezCox recount tales of his quirks. “He was a clean freak,” Felicia Brooks says. “He was very particular.” Alonzo’s older sister talks about how he always had to have everything a certain way, from meticulously making his bed every morning to ironing his money and boxers. “Wait, wait, wait, wait, tell her about the tattoo,” Angela Ramirez-Cox says. Through fits of laughter, they recount how Alonzo confidently decided to get a tattoo one afternoon in his mother’s house, only to freak out the minute the needle touched his chest. “Before he got it he was like, ‘I’m a man. I got this! I got this!’” Felicia Brooks says. “So the guy comes over, touches him with the needle and Alonzo jumps up and goes, ‘I’m good.’” The incident left Alonzo with a singular dot on his chest—which he proudly showed off as his tattoo. They fondly remember how he loved Budweiser beer, the Chiefs and Newport cigarettes. Story after story, laugh after laugh. But there’s one story they need to know—the truth about what happened in Alonzo’s final hours. “He loved the color red,” Maria Ramirez says. “He had this little red truck, a Hot Wheels one, that he took everywhere when he was younger. I think I lost it in the move from Gardner. I wish I could find it.”

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SPONSORED CONTENT

RODROCK DEVELOPMENT

It Runs in the Family

Kansas City’s leading residential real estate developer and homebuilder is launching their biggest project yet.

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SPONSORED CONTENT

B

LEFT:

L to R; Brian Rodrock, Jeff Reglin, Jeff Gifford BELOW:

The striking Sundance Ridge monument provides a grand entrance to the scenic master-planned community.

uilt by family, for family. As the Kansas City area’s leading developer and homebuilder, Rodrock has been a trusted name for more than a quarter century, synonymous with integrity and dedicated to helping families find a place to call home. Founded by CEO Brian Rodrock and brothers-in-law Jeff Gifford, COO, and Jeff Reglin, CMO, Rodrock focuses on creating communities and homes to enhance family lifestyles and quality of life. It’s by design that an authentic, home-grown philosophy is the cornerstone of the locally owned and family-operated business. Rodrock’s owners grew up here, raise their children here and actively participate in the communities where they live, work and play. This experience, along with deep building expertise, is thoughtfully and intentionally incorporated into the planning of each Rodrock home and community. “We understand the importance of time with family and loved ones,” says Rodrock, a third-generation homebuilder. “Our entire team strives to ensure our homes and communities are designed to enrich and enhance that time together.” Thousands of families in the Kansas City area have purchased homes in Rodrock communities, which are known for attention to detail, craftsmanship quality and trend-setting features.

INTRODUCING SUNDANCE RIDGE

Rodrock’s passion for building sought-after, amenities-rich communities throughout Johnson County has culminated in its newest project, Sundance Ridge. Located along 175th Street, east of Mission Road and situated in the acclaimed Blue Valley School District, convenient to the area’s exciting dining, shopping and entertaining options, the true master-planned community is taking shape. Stretching across 400 prime acres in southern Johnson County, Sundance Ridge will include three distinctive neighborhoods, hundreds of homes and a $4 million plus, top-notch amenities package anchored by a resort-style clubhouse, two pools, workout facility, expansive play area, pickleball courts and indoor sports court. A stunning entry monument showcased by fountains and stone pillars, spacious common areas and nearly 4 miles of paved, scenic nature trails linking the neighborhoods, will round out the extraordinary, one-of-a-community. A unique element of Sundance Ridge will be multiple pocket parks nestled along the trails — little treasures intended to create destinations throughout the community. “Sundance Ridge is something that Kansas City has never experienced before in a new home, master-planned community,” Rodrock says. “Our team has taken great care to design a community that will delight homeowners with unexpected highlights like the pocket parks and top-tier amenities.”

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SPONSORED CONTENT

“Buyers looking for walkout, wooded home sites backing up to green spaces, and a community that blends in with the stunning terrain, serenity and big sky of the Kansas countryside will want to consider Sundance Ridge.” —Brian Rodrock, CEO, Rodrock

ABOVE:

Modern, open-style design at its best, The Lancaster in Sundance Ridge’s Red Fox Run neighborhood boasts a great room with a stone fireplace, built-ins and architectural detailing like an arched entry.

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THREE SPECTACULAR NEIGHBORHOODS

Comprised of three neighborhoods — Big Sky, Red Fox Run and Archers Landing — Sundance Ridge will boast more than 700 home sites carved, shaped and molded into the breathtaking landscape. Prices will begin in the mid$400s in Archers Landing, a rare value in Blue Valley School District for a top-tier home in a remarkable, picturesque setting, and range to $1 million plus. An aspect of Sundance Ridge to benefit homebuyers with growing families will be a future elementary school. Blue Valley School

District has purchased land within the community to build a school, meaning families can walk their students to the school’s front doors without leaving Sundance Ridge. PURCHASE TODAY FOR UNPAR ALLELED HOME SITE SELECTION

Brenda Sanders, president of Rodrock & Associates, REALTORS, says early buyers at Sundance Ridge can not only take advantage of choosing the ideal home site and floor plan to complement their family’s lifestyle at an unprecedented price, their investment will realize instant equity.


SPONSORED CONTENT

ABOVE:

Home chefs will love the spacious, gourmet-inspired kitchen in The Lancaster, which features sleek appliances, a sunny breakfast room and an adjoining walkin pantry. RIGHT:

The Lancaster’s spa-like master bath is luxurious, with a freestanding tub, built-in decorative linen closet and large shower.

“I’ve been in the real estate industry for more than 30 years and opportunities like Sundance Ridge are indeed rare,” Sanders notes. “Buyers lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of this magnificent community can purchase a home in Archers Landing beginning in the mid-$400s. That’s unprecedented for a new home that will have access to a Blue Valley school within the community, high-end amenities and attractive green spaces.” “We wanted to be in a large community and, having lived in prior Rodrock communities and knowing the end results there, thought we’d get into the early stage of Sundance,” says Sundance Ridge resident Rob Triano, who lives in the Archers Landing neighborhood. “In just a few years, the community will include a pool, large clubhouse, gardens, parks, picnic areas, and a Blue Valley elementary school. So many great features on the way!” SUNDANCE RIDGE, BIG SKY AND BEAUTIFUL TERR AIN

“Buyers looking for walkout, wooded home sites backing up to green spaces, and a community that blends in with the stunning surroundings, serenity and big sky of the Kansas countryside will want to consider Sundance Ridge,” Rodrock says. “Additionally, we’ve partnered Johnson County’s premier homebuilders — each have built a professionally decorated model home.”

CO N TAC T

For more information on Sundance Ridge or to schedule an appointment, 913-991-8095 or visit www.rodrock.com.

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If you’re looking to send your child to private school, there are a few factors to consider, from budget to teaching philosophies to student-to-teacher ratio. Our private school handbook has all the tools you need to get you started on your private school journey.

Private School Where to Go How to choose the right private school for your child.

H A N D B O O K

2020

Tour Tips It’s all about knowing what you want and asking the right questions.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY CYDNEY CHEREPAK

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Private School Tour Tips by Jordan Meier

A visit to a private school can be daunting. You want to make a favorable impression on the people who could be responsible for your child’s education, but you also want to ask the questions that will help you make the best decision. But putting aside some of these stresses, there are other things you and your family should keep in mind as you traverse the world of private education in Kansas City and particularly as you are visiting school campuses. Most organized family tours of private schools in the area occur about halfway through the application process. Representatives from Barstow, Rockhurst and Pembroke Hill share three important tips for your visit. Know what you want out of a school before you visit. Different private schools offer different things, so to get the most out of your visit, be sure to know if what you want aligns with what the school can offer. “Parents should have a firm grasp of the journey they want for their child before they walk through the door,” says Rebecca Garry, director of admissions at Barstow Academy. Garry says visits are much more productive if the families know what they want from the school before they visit. You wouldn’t be going overboard by making a written list of priorities.

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Be aware of your child’s interests and emphasize them with your tour guide. If your child likes art, music or a particular sport, be sure to tell your tour guide before the visit or during it. If they know what your child is interested in, they will be sure to show you the facilities they have and introduce you to the teachers or coaches that specialize in those interests. “Have a conversation with an admission representative prior to your tour to talk a little more about specific things you might be interested in so that the tour can really be tailored toward you,” says Samantha Piper, assistant director of admissions at Pembroke Hill Academy. “I think if you want to see how it can be special for your child, talking a little more about it in advance is really helpful.” Let your child help run the experience—even if they’ve got an older sibling at the school. Whether your child has older siblings in the school or is exploring it for the first time, letting them be involved in every step will help you get the most out of your visit. Let them ask the questions. Encourage them to stand in front, near the tour guide. “I really enjoy when a family allows each of their children to go through the process fully,” says Michael Comiskey, director of admissions for Rockhurst. “And I say that in regards to a family that might have a current student at Rockhurst already. They know Rockhurst, they know what we’re about, our process, but they might have a younger son and they want him to get the full experience.”


FUTURE READY ROCKHURST HIGH SCHOOL

47 PERCENT 2.7 MILLION DOLLARS OF STUDENTS RECEIVE

IN FINANCIAL AID

40,000 ANNUALLY 5

SERVICE HOURS DONATED

IMERSION SERVICE TRIPS OFFERED YEARLY

AT THE ROCK

1000 95 115

STUDENTS FROM ZIP CODES REPRESENTING GRADE SCHOOLS

FOLLOW THE ROCK

@RockhurstHS @RockhurstHS @RockhurstHigh WWW.ROCKHURSTHS.EDU


5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Private School by BRYCE BAILEY

Considering private school? Here are five tips to keep in mind.

Have a Discussion With Family. Your first step should have nothing to do with the schools themselves and everything to do with you and your family. Sit down and talk about what is and isn’t important to you. Athletics, religion, class size and tuition are some factors to consider. Start Planning Soon. It’s best to look into schools and make decisions sooner rather than later. “The application process for private schools is much different than public schools,” says The Pembroke Hill School’s director of admissions, Laura Linn. Applications and interviews are key steps in the process.” Call or Schedule a Visit. There’s plenty of information online about Kansas City’s local private schools and the baseline information you may need, but be sure to call and schedule visits to check out your top choices. During the pandemic, schools like The Barstow School are even offering virtual meetings with parents via Zoom.

EVERY BOY BECOMES A MAN. THE QUESTION IS, WHAT KIND WILL YOURS BECOME?

Trust Your Gut. Don’t underestimate the value of your intuition as you interact with the faculty and students at a school. It can be just as important as something like tuition costs. “There are no perfect students and no perfect schools, but having your child around students who potentially have similar interests and beliefs can be huge in their development and success,” says Maranatha Academy’s admissions and marketing director, Rodney Wilcox.

Since 1889, thousands of parents have looked to Missouri Military Academy to give their boys the structure, responsibility and love they need to grow, compete and thrive — and become young men in full command of their lives.

MMA

Don’t Be Discouraged By Price. Tuition costs can be intimidating, but a majority of the private schools in the KC area offer financial aid. For instance, Rockhurst’s admissions and marketing director, Mike Comiskey, says, “Rockhurst is fortunate to be able to offer 2.7 million dollars of financial need-based assistance this school year, to roughly fourty-seven percent of our student body.” Talk to the admissions offices to learn about your options.

M I S S O U R I M I L I TA RY A C A D E M Y Campus is open fall 2020, serving grades 7 — 12 PG. Since 1889 • Mexico, Missouri 888-564-6662 • missourimilitaryacademy.org

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

2020

Private School Profiles If you’re a parent, you want what’s best for your children. When it comes to their education, what could be more important than choosing the right school? In this special section, get a closer look at what makes each of these local private schools unique; from religious philosophies, preferred learning methods and class size, you can find the school that’s best for you and your family.

Illustration by Jocelyn Sands

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Private School Profiles 2020

Rockhurst High School

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ockhurst High School is sought out and recognized for its ability to form and educate “men for others.” Rockhurst High School, in the Jesuit tradition, fosters lifelong friendships based on enduring principles and Ignatian values. It is nationally and locally recognized for its success in developing community leaders for an increasingly diverse world. Rockhurst is the only Jesuit Catholic private college preparatory school for boys in grades 9-12 in the Kansas City area. Its student body consists of 1,000 students from 115 grade/middle schools, and represents 95 area zip codes—a true metropolitan institution.

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Rockhurst students engage in a rigorous academic schedule, incorporating theology, visual and graphic arts, lab sciences, awardwinning campus-wide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programming, language arts and robotics. The education also works to form young men of conscience, competence and compassion. Outside the classroom, students participate in a robust four-year faith formation retreat program, more than 45 co-curricular activities and 13 athletic programs, and they donate 40,000 community services hours annually. Thanks to the many treasures

of Rockhurst parents, faculty, staff, alumni and benefactors, Rockhurst is able to provide $2.7 million in financial assistance to 47% of families this school year. In the spirit of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Rockhurst’s goal is the formation of the whole person within a diverse and disciplined environment, as one who is open to growth, strives for academic excellence and is religious, loving and committed to justice through service.

9301 State Line Rd. Kansas City, MO | 816.363.2036 rockhursths.edu


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Notre Dame de Sion

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otre Dame de Sion students are prepared for whatever the future holds. For more than 100 years, Sion has provided an exceptional educational experience to families in the Kansas City metro area. Small by design, Sion is uniquely able to offer a challenging, personalized education that encourages students to find their passions and follow their own path. We balance strong academics with life skills that teach students resiliency through coping tools to navigate life’s challenges. By fostering strong relationships between students, faculty and staff, we create a supportive Sion community that will continue to nurture students well beyond their

years within the Sion walls. Sion instills in students a heart for service and an inclusive foundational faith that will ground them and guide them throughout their lives. We encourage students to be independent, critical thinkers and contributing members of society. Rooted in the Catholic, interfaith tradition of the Sisters of Sion, our school is part of an international network through which our students engage in a global exchange of ideas and cultures. Sion is dedicated to creating a spirit of inclusion by educating our students about and providing exposure to diverse religions, cultures, socioeconomic statuses and world views. Sion graduates use their individual gifts

to be active participants in their own lives and the world around them. We have two campuses, both delivering on one unified Sion mission. Our grade school serves both boys and girls grades Pre-K through eighth and is located in midtown Kansas City at 39th and Locust. Our all-girls, college-preparatory high school is located in South Kansas City at 106th and Wornall. Our philosophy for both campuses centers around educating the whole person, which is why classes and coursework are personalized, challenging, well-rounded and engaging. It’s all part of what we call The Sion Difference. We invite you to discover it for yourself.

High School: 10631 Wornall Rd. Kansas City, MO | 816.942.3282 ndsion.edu Grade School: 3823 Locust St. Kansas City, MO | 816.753.3810 ndsion.edu

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Private School Profiles 2020

Missouri Military Academy Since 1889, thousands of parents have looked to Missouri Military Academy (MMA) to give their boys the structure, responsibility and love they need to grow, compete and thrive— and ultimately become young men in full command of their lives. Focused on educating grades 7 through 12 and developing cadets’ self-confidence and grit, MMA empowers young men to unlock their full potential through the Academy’s college-preparatory boarding school and military structured environment. Through MMA, families give their boys gifts of courage, strength, heart and pride—an edge to triumph in college and in life. Located approximately 2.5 hours from Kansas City.

204 N. Grand St., Mexico, MO 573.581.1776 | missourimilitaryacademy.org

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic High School St. Michael the Archangel Catholic High School (SMA) is a 21st century collegepreparatory school that prepares young men and women for life through programs and experiences that meet standards of excellence and are rooted in our Catholic faith and traditions. Built in 2017 on an 87-acre campus, our mission is to develop leaders who embrace their God-given gifts in order to Know Truth, Love God and Serve Others as faithful disciples. Our school is a place Where You Belong. We are committed to a Community system mixing students from each grade level to utilize collaboration skills fostering a more unified school for inclusive education for all. The small student-teacher ratio of 10:1 allows our students to be known and academically challenged as individuals. We are the first Catholic high school in the nation to offer an Aviation Program. We invite you to come explore our academics, athletics, service and spiritual intellect and discover how you belong at SMA.

2901 N.W. Lee’s Summit Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO 816.763.4800 | smacatholic.org

White-glove service for your big purchase Do you have big dreams for your home? If you’ve been thinking about a bigger house to call your home, you should talk with a Mortgage Banker at Commerce Bank about how to lock in your best rate soon. We can help you explore a variety of home financing options, such as jumbo loans for homes larger than $484,351†. While you focus on finding your dream home, put us to work on finding the right way to finance it. Mortgage made simple. Stress less. We’ve got this. †Minimum loan amount is $484,351.

David Johnston 816.234.8629 commercebank.com/davidjohnston nmls#1430146 commercebank.com/mortgage

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Hummus Among Us Queen of the Mediterranean Restaurant’s Mashawi Plate is a labor of love. BY M A R T I N C I Z M A R

Photo by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

I T T A K E S A minimum of two full days to make the butter-smooth and flavor-packed hummus you’ll find at Queen of the Mediterranean Restaurant. They start by soaking jumbo chickpeas in water for a full day before simmering them for two hours. The chickpeas then rest for another day before getting blended with tahini. And that’s just one little item on the best-selling Mashawi Plate at Mohamed and Chef Kay Bataineh’s restaurant, which recently opened a second location in Lenexa after two and a half years in the Northland. This restaurant does everything a little extra, like buying grass-fed lamb shanks from the Amish in rural Missouri and making saffron rice that’s rich with the pricey spice and dotted with allspice berries for good measure. It’s our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in town, and it’s now a lot closer for folks south of the Big Muddy. Queen of Mediterranean Restaurant, 12247 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa. 913-232-8721, orderqueenofmediterranean.com.

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F E AT U R E

New in Town Three recently opened restaurants adapt their businesses for a pandemic. BY N ATA L I E G A L L AG H E R | P H OTO G R A PH Y BY CA L E B C O N D I T A N D R E B EC CA N O R D E N

“DURING A PANDEMIC?” has be-

come my preferred refrain any time I’m asked to participate in what pre-coronavirus times would have been considered normal activities. So far, this phrase has excused me from: bathing regularly, paying bills on time and drinking in moderation. “During a pandemic?” is also the phrase that pulses through my brain as I encounter, with somewhat startling frequency, new restaurants hosting grand openings amid increasing restrictions— even as Covid-19 has caused many long-standing restaurants to temporarily or permanently close (farewell, Nara—I’ll miss your cheap-ashell happy hour). In the past few months, Kansas City has welcomed an upscale cocktail bar (Leawood’s Verdigris), an elegant American fine dining restaurant from the owners of Café Provence (Verbena in Prairie Village) and a handful of other breweries, bakeries and eateries. With rent and mortgages to pay, some new restaurant owners feel like they have little choice but to open. Others—like Blackhole Bakery’s Jason Provo—insist that, pandemic or not, you can’t cancel your dreams. You might have to modify them a bit, though. We talked to three newcomers— Blackhole, Billie’s Grocery and Yoli Tortilleria—about what it’s like to open during a pandemic. Aside from the circumstances, these establishments have one key unifier: an ardent commitment to carbs.

Billie’s Grocery 3216 GILLHAM PL A Z A , SUITE 100, KCMO OPEN 8 AM–3 PM MONDAY–SATURDAY BILLIESGROCERY.COM

Robin Krause is not new to the restaurant business. After founding Filling Station Coffee in 2004, which she grew to four locations before selling the business in 2014, Krause went on to open Unbakery and Juicery in 2016, which focused on raw foods and cold-processed juices. Billie’s Grocery, a combination restaurant and bakery concept, is an extension of that wellness signature Krause found four years ago. The menu caters to keto, vegan and gluten-free diets. Along with artisanal wellness shop Apothé and culinary education program the Luzier, both operated by Krause, Billie’s is housed inside the newly renovated historical Luzier Cosmetics Building in Midtown. The idea, Krause says, was to take her degree in nutritional therapy and integrate it with her business. “The most important thing I learned is how to cook mindfully using quality ingredients and using them correctly,” she says. “For example, you can get a really good ol-

LEFT: Jason Provo holds court over his wares at Blackhole Bakery. RIGHT: Enjoy the natural light at Billie's while you sip a fresh juice.

ive oil, but throw it on the grill and it’s carcinogenic. We don’t use oil like that, and we don’t have canola oil at all. There’s a lot of ingredients in normal kitchens you won’t find in mine.” The “grocery” portion of Billie’s Grocery is still coming, Krause promises. She currently offers a bottled fermented hot sauce and some pickled items, and by the holidays, she plans on a full line of dry goods, charcuterie boards and flower arrangements. In the meantime, diners can enjoy a handsome dairy-free Reuben (with housefermented kraut and vegan mayo), bountiful bowls (deconstructed sushi, veggie Thai, beet hummus) and an array of vegan, raw, glutenfree and processed sugar-free pastries and desserts. The latter are particularly stunning: Billie’s long glass cases are filled with decadent sweets, from stout lemon-basil-honey scones (gluten-free) and pretty layered Twix caramel bars (vegan, gluten-free) to a celebrationworthy layered carrot cake (gluten-free) and a striking raw tiramisu cake (vegan, gluten-free). For the moment, most people are opting to take their meals and treats to-go instead of enjoying them in Billie’s light-filled dining room—and if they are dining in, they’re doing so on eco-friendly to-go dishes. “It’s not the presentation we wanted, but the food is still good and it’s safer for everyone,” Krause says.

Blackhole Bakery 5531 TROOST AVE ., KCMO

OPEN 7 AM–2 PM WEDNESDAY–FRIDAY AND 8 AM–2 PM SATURDAY AND SUNDAY BL ACKHOLEBAKERY.COM

Jason Provo has been working in the space at 5531 Troost since last July, but the sign for Blackhole Bakery didn’t go up until a month later. That’s largely because Provo wasn’t baking at first: There were improvements to

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Dish when people come in to pick up their call-ahead order, they wait in line and purchase additional things,” Provo says. “They’re really just calling ahead to reserve the items they really want.” Usually, those items include Blackhole’s perfectly spiraled cinnamon rolls and signature mochi donuts. In no time, Blackhole has developed a rabid fandom for the latter: The impeccable spheres come in punchy flavors—peach, mocha, berry lemonade, the signature chocolate—and have a feather-light marshmallow texture thanks to the use of glutinous rice flour. They look like oversized bonbons and are just as satisfying. “We’ve been pretty blessed and lucky, despite opening during a pandemic,” Provo says. “We were immediately overwhelmed with a really large following, which is crazy, and gradually, we’ve found an equilibrium.”

Yoli Tortilleria 1668 JEFFERSON ST., #100, KCMO

OPEN 8 AM–4 PM, TUESDAY–SATURDAY,

make to the building, like new equipment and a fresh coat of paint, before he could get into the kitchen and start creating. “I wasn’t under a tight schedule until February 2020,” Provo says. “The remodel was finished, and we had a good idea of what direction we were going in. We were planning our opening right at the same time that the coronavirus started becoming a news story.” Provo delayed opening until April 1, cut back on staffing and augmented his menu to fit DID YOU a grab-and-go model. The new K NOW ? tables went into storage before Sonoran the grand opening and have tortillas yet to be christened—Provo were first developed isn’t sure when that will hapby Jewish pen. For now, he’s not worried settlers who about it. didn’t think corn was “Ninety-nine percent of our kosher. business is just carryout,” he says. “We don’t have seating and we don’t allow anyone to hang out, which is not how I saw the business running, but we’ve received positive feedback.” When Blackhole first opened, callahead orders were de rigueur. That practice has dwindled as Provo’s customer base has gotten more comfortable coming in and selecting their pastries. “Nine times out of ten,

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E AT YOLI.COM

For the past three years, Marissa Gencarelli has been on a mission to bring quality, traditional Mexican-style tortillas to Kansas City. If you shop at the Overland Park Farmer’s Market or local grocery stores, you’ve likely seen her brand, Yoli Tortilleria. Perhaps you’ve even picked up a pack of those stone-ground corn tortillas, made from local, organic, non-GMO white, yellow, red and blue corn. Maybe you’ve stuffed those tortillas with carne asada and marveled at how they curve into your hands with a friendliness that massproduced corn tortillas will never have, or how the toasted corn lends a bite of earthiness. Gencarelli, who was born in Sonora, Mexico, has long wanted to introduce the famed flour tortillas of her home state to the company’s offerings. Her Sonoran flour tortillas are traditionally made with lard (or avocado oil for a vegetarian version) and are tissue-thin while remaining delightfully pliable and chewy. “We wanted to make sure we kept our corn tortilla facility gluten-free,” Gencarelli says, so she and her business partner and husband, Mark, began looking for a second location to produce their Sonoran-style flour tortillas. They

found one in the Westside neighborhood: a small space that’s mostly a commercial kitchen with one slender counter and a cooler stocked with every variety of tortillas the company has, in multiple sizes. The idea has always been to offer drinks and snacks along with the tortillas. “The tortillerias in my hometown were small, and they would have little snacks and coffees and sodas and local cheese,” Gencarelli says. “It becomes a community spot where you grab your fresh tortillas for that day, you get a tamale, you see your neighbors and say hi.” Currently, Yoli offers breakfast burritos (made with local Campo Lindo Farms eggs and Local Pig products), homemade salsas and cold brew, and Gencarelli has plans to introduce horchatas and tamales. The menu is entirely to-go. “We didn’t plan on opening during a pandemic,” Gencarelli says with a laugh. “We had hoped to be open by the end of 2019, but there were delays with equipment and permits, and then we thought, ‘Well, it’s now or never—we’re already paying rent.’ But so far, so good. This neighborhood is perfect for us. We feel like we’ve been welcomed home.”

LEFT: Blackhole’s cinnamon rolls are worth a pre-order. RIGHT: Marissa and Mark Gencarelli co-own the new Yoli Tortilleria on the Westside.


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What’s New in Kansas City Food & Drink

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New Q Overland Park’s newest BBQ joint features some familiar faces. In August, Smoketown BBQ opened on Shawnee Mission Parkway, in the former home of a Hawaiian plate lunch spot. Several employees formerly worked at Johnny’s in Mission, which shuttered at the start of the year. (“We are a completely different restaurant,” the staff says.) One early standout on the menu is a Smoketown Throwdown sandwich that appears to be a supersized version of Joe’s famous Z-Man: a half-pound of brisket, onion rings, cheese, sauce, plus two pieces of bacon for good measure. If you want to sample Alabama’s unique style of barbecue there’s good news and bad news. The good news is your closest source for deep Dixie’s distinctive mayo-based white BBQ sauce is no longer in Alabama. The bad news is Moe’s is still a bit of a hike, in St. George, Kansas, just east of Manhattan. Moe’s is a casual chain that’s been listed as one of the better multi-state BBQ empires in several national rankings.

Imo’s returns to KCK Provel paradise has returned to Kansas City. Imo’s is the St. Louis favorite known for its specialty cheese blend and fried raviolis. Kansas City had an Imo’s location in Westport until 2016, when it unexpectedly closed, leaving the central city without the cross-state fave. Lucas Commodore, whose parents have owned the south Overland Park location since 2004, will be opening a new location on Rainbow Boulevard in KCK this fall. “We may focus on curbside and carryout initially, with delivery and limited dining to follow,” Commodore says. “This location has been in the works for a long time,” he says. “Especially right now, when every dollar counts and the consumers are thinking through every time they go out to eat in public.” Commodore and his family are grateful to be able to open when so many businesses are going through a hard time. “We feel lucky that in a year where so many other businesses are closing or failing or struggling, our one store has got along

quite well and we are able to open a second one,” Commodore says. “But we don’t want to take anything for granted.”

Lost and Found Johnson County has another new brewery. Lost Evenings in Lenexa was influenced by British pubs and is housed in a large, open space. The brewery opened in late June in the Westchester Shopping Center and is owned by longtime homebrewer Patrick Davis and his wife Heather. Along with the very European no tipping model, the tap list at Lost Evenings leans heavily on British pub favorites like mild, stout and brown ale.

Posted Up KC’s carryout chicken game just got a little more spicy with the arrival of The Post Chicken & Beer on Country Club Plaza. The spinoff from Jax Fish House, where the KC location is housed for now, boasts all-natural birds that are brined for hours before being fried up nice and crispy. That chicken also comes as a pot pie for chilly fall nights. Some of the Southern side offerings include biscuits, collards, hush puppies, Dijon-fennel cider slaw and cornbread.

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Slow Jams A new rural Kansas barbecue spot comes from an owner who wants to run “a hole in the wall.” BY M A R T I N C I Z M A R

T H E N E W B A R B E C U E J O I N T in Lansing, Kansas, is nothing fancy. Low-

N-Slow Midwest BBQ sits on Highway 73, in a little building that looks like it’s leaning. The menu is written on a white dry-erase board hung from the drop ceiling. The food comes from a small pit out in the driveway, next to a now-idle food cart.

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It’s all exactly how owner James Cox wanted it. “I just wanted to be this hole in the wall,” he says. “Those are always the best places to eat—it’s a hole in the wall, not a chain. Not everything is immaculate with no rough edges anywhere.” Cox is a former IT guy who’s lived in Lansing, south of Leavenworth, for most of his life. In December 2018, he opened a food truck. This spring, just before the pandemic, he lined up a lease at a local building that had been sitting vacant for awhile. “I was running the trailer from the parking lot and got an even bigger following while I was working on the restaurant,” he says. “I was like, ‘OK, I’m gonna open up, I’m gonna get my inspections, open May 1.’ Then Covid hit and it was like, ‘Uh, yeah, you’re not getting your inspections.’” Cox eventually opened in late June, with a tiny kitchen “just maybe double the size of the trailer” and a few tables where you’ll often find Cox visiting with customers. “I want the customers to be like friends,” he says. “I really like going and sitting with certain customers and visiting with them.” Cox’s menu fits the place. He cooks everything on a wood-burning offset smoker and keeps the menu simple. The sliced brisket and burnt ends were the standouts on our visit, the latter candied in the house’s only sauce, which balanced for universal appeal. The most popular item is the fry basket— one of the meats served on a pile of french fries fresh out of the oil with a drizzle of sauce on top. “When we did events with the trailer, we came up with the fry basket because it’s just, like, put a fork in and people go to town on it, especially at fairs and stuff,” Cox says. “People just love it.” Next up, Cox hopes to add a porch so customers can sit outside—which will also allow him to visit with them while manning his pit. “I’m a stick burner, so you’ve just gotta maintain the temperature and be consistent with how you’re doing,” he says. “I mean, it’s sweaty work sometimes, but it works as long as you’re consistent. It pays off in the end.” GO: Low-N-Slow Midwest BBQ, 106 S. Main St., Lansing, KS., 913-306-5552, lownslowmidwestbbq.com


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Backstory I M P O R TA N T

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The newly born Kansas City Chiefs get their first cheerleader—a man named Randy Neil.

y love for cheerleading began while I was a student at the University of Kansas—I was in the pep club and became an alternate cheerleader. I wanted to be a cheerleader because I was too small for football and basketball but loved all sports, so cheerleading was the next best thing. Cheerleading is about leadership and school spirit and, of course, fun. So when I heard about Lamar Hunt’s decision to move the Dallas Texans to Kansas City in 1963, I felt a duty to inquire about cheerleaders for the organization. I eventually wrote Hunt a letter volunteering to put together a squad, but I never expected a response. When the response came, I thought that Hunt had merely let me down easy. Then I opened it and was positively mortified. Within the letter, Hunt instructed me, ‘Go to it.’ The encouragement set in action the plans prepared for this scenario. I handpicked eighteen cheerleaders, both male and female, from high schools and universities around the area and began working on routines, uniforms,

KANSAS CITY SEPTEMBER 2020

everything necessary to be properly incorporated with the Chiefs organization. This crew made the Kansas City Chiefs the first professional football team with male cheerleaders, and we hit the ground running. Initially all unpaid volunteers, we visited numerous community events, including awarding trophies at the Kansas City Rodeo, in order to gain publicity for ourselves and the infant Chiefs football team. As our popularity grew, I held local tryouts to narrow down the growing number of applicants. At the end of the 1963 season—one of my favorite moments with the Chiefs Cheerleaders—Hunt displayed his characteristic humility and came onto the field at Municipal Stadium to individually thank the cheerleaders for their work for the Chiefs organization. The entire team shared Hunt’s respect for the group—everywhere the players went, the cheerleaders went, come hell or high water.” — Randy Neil, author of New York Times bestseller The Official Cheerleader’s Handbook, as told to RJ Haskin

Photo provided by Randy Neil


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