Where in the World is Kansas City?

Kansas City Chiefs fans watch the Super Bowl at the Power and Light District in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020.

Kansas City Chiefs fans watch the Super Bowl at the Power and Light District in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner


Connecting state and local government leaders

President Trump’s congratulatory message for the Kansas City Chiefs included a common mistake.

Kansas and Missouri have long competed for jobs, not to mention vied for supremacy in college football.

But the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory on Sunday touched a nerve when it comes to bragging rights.

When President Trump initially congratulated the “Great State of Kansas” for the Chiefs’ win over the San Francisco 49ers, he made a gaffe many Midwesterners are used to by now— misunderstanding the location of the Kansas City.

Kansas City is actually two cities, located in two states and overseen by two separate governments. The larger and older of the two, located in Missouri, is home to both Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium, where the Chiefs and Royals play.

Public officials from Missouri poked fun at the mistake.

"You'd be surprised how many members of the Senate say, 'The Kansas City Chiefs have to be in Kansas, right?'" U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, of Missouri, told a Washington Post reporter.

Kansas City, Missouri was incorporated in 1853—eight years before Kansas became a state—and is home to 491,000 residents. Kansas City, Kansas, home to about 152,000 people, was founded in 1886. The city and Wyandotte County, in which it’s located, combined to form a consolidated government in 1997.

Kansas City, Missouri, was the center of the region’s festivities Sunday night, with an estimated 20,000 people at the Power and Light District, an outdoor bar and entertainment complex located downtown. It will be the focal point for celebrations on Wednesday as well. 

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas prodded halftime performers Shakira and Jennifer Lopez to see if they’d visit the Show-Me State to attend Wednesday’s victory parade.

“I want to let you know that we’d love to have you at Wednesday’s victory parade too! Hope to see you soon in #KansasCity (the bigger one in Missouri),” Lucas wrote Monday in a tweet.

Although school districts in both Kansas and Missouri are cancelling classes Wednesday so students and staff can attend the Super Bowl parade, the red and gold celebration will culminate at Union Station on the Missouri side of the state line.

Amid patrolling celebrations Sunday night and completing preparations for Wednesday’s celebrations, the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department took the opportunity to issue its own public service announcement.

“Now that everyone is paying attention to Kansas City, it seems people are confused: We're from MISSOURI. Check our profile pic—It's our Missouri-shaped patch,” the police department wrote on its Twitter account.

Politicians from the Kansas side of the border underscored that they too were rooting for the Chiefs.

"Kansas has always been part of Chiefs Kingdom, with proud and enthusiastic fans across our state," said Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly in a statement. "We’ve had our conflicts over the years, but there’s no rivalry between Kansas and Missouri where the Chiefs are concerned."

David Alvey, the mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, told the New York Times that his city has an “underdog mentality” within the metro region. But he said the Chiefs are well-loved across the state line.

While Kansas City, Kansas, may not be home to the Chiefs’ football stadium, it has successfully courted other sporting franchises. Sporting KC, the region’s Major League Soccer team, plays at Children’s Mercy Park located in Kansas City, Kansas. Next door is another major complex – the Kansas Speedway, a 72,000-capacity motorsports facility that hosts NASCAR races.

Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent for Route Fifty and a Kansas City, Missouri, native.

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