The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl on Sunday night. An area man is associated with the team.
Building a team takes a lot of moving parts and for one Ironton native it starts from the ground up.
Travis Hogan is the head groundskeeper for the Kansas City Chiefs and he spends all year, every game making sure his team has the perfect field to play the greatest game on turf.
But just like football, Hogan said it is a team effort.
“It is me, four full-time employees and three part-time employees,” Hogan said. “They are the most important aspect of our success. They take immense pride in what we do and work extremely hard to deliver a good product on the field, week in and week out.”
Hogan said his team comes in on weeks off to move grow lights, check field moisture, fertilize, mow and make sure everything is good.
“They are the best in the business,” Hogan said. “We take care of the stadium field, two natural grass practice fields, one synthetic turf field and we are also responsible for two natural grass fields for training camp.”
Hogan said the stadium is a natural grass field and they try to never resod. He said they grow as much as possible between games and keep the same field all year.
“I am always stressed until we get about five minutes into the game,” Hogan said. “You never know what you have until the players get their cleats in the ground and start playing.”
In case of snow, which is very likely in the later months of the season at Arrowhead Stadium, Hogan said the field is tarped and depending on how much snow they will clear the stadium.
“Stadium operations crew does an awesome job of getting the snow in the stands to the field and then we haul that out of the stadium,” Hogan said. “Once all of that is accomplished, we clear the tarp of snow, blow the tarp off and try to have it as dry as possible to take off before the game.”
Hogan said the best thing about working for an organization like the Kansas City Chiefs has been how they are always there to give him and his team what they need to do their job.
“From a heated field to grow lights, they give us what we need to provide the best conditions we can every week,” Hogan said.
So, how does a small town boy from Ironton, Missouri end up being the head groundskeeper for the Kansas City Chiefs?
Hogan said he started working at Eagle Lake, now Crown Pointe Golf Club, in 1994.
“I started asking questions about what we were doing and why we were doing it,” Hogan said. “ I realized how big of a challenge it was and really enjoyed it.”
A few years later Hogan was given the opportunity to intern at the 1998 Women’s U.S. Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin. Later that year he was able to finish the season with the Chiefs.
“In January of 1999, I went to school at Rutgers University and worked for the Chiefs and Royals that summer and fall,” Hogan said. “Then finished up with the Rutgers program in March of 2000. I then got hired on full time by the Chiefs, working here until 2002.”
Hogan then had the opportunity to move to California and work at Pebble Beach Golf Link and then Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble beach for a few years.
After a few years out of Missouri, Hogan decided to come back working at Sullivan Country Club from 2005 to 2009 and then went Pointe Royale Golf Village and John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf Club, both in Branson.
“I came back to the Chiefs in 2010, and took over as head groundskeeper in 2016,” Hogan said. “So, in total this is my 14th season with the Chiefs.”
Hogan said growing up he really had no idea what he was going to do after he graduated high school.
“It took me a few years to find something I legitimately enjoyed doing,” Hogan said. “Never in a million years did I expect to end up here.”
He said growing up in Ironton, working for an organization like the Kansas City Chiefs never even crossed his mind.
“I appreciate all the support from my friends and family back home,” Hogan said. “I don’t get home near as often as I would like, but there are a lot of people down that way that have played a huge part of my life.”
—Reprinted from The Daily Journal