The Denver Broncos begin their 2013 season with Training Camp on Thursday morning. If you have never had the opportunity to attend one of these practices, in my opinion, you are missing out on something special. Of course, Broncos Country is pretty huge, so fans who live outside Colorado, or even outside of the US would have difficulties breaking away from work, family etc. However, if this will be your first time at Training Camp, I can help you out so that you’re not totally lost.
If you are coming to practice seeking autographs, afternoon sessions are better. This is because after the morning practice, the players don’t have as much time. They must shower and get to their classroom work. They have extra time after the late practice and most will stay a little longer. Also, the players are assigned autograph duty by unit. One day it will be the Running Backs and the next time Receivers etc. On occasion, one of the other players will come over if persuaded. Last year Peyton Manning signed every day. Still, I wasn’t able to get his autograph. You can bet that the crowd around Wes Welker will make getting his signature difficult as well.
WHAT TO BRING
Bring your Bronco Caps, footballs, Mini helmets, lifesize helmets, jerseys or 8X10 color glossies, they will sign them all. You usually don’t need to bring a Sharpie unless it’s one of those fancy silver or gold ones for different colored items. I pack a few anyway, just in case one of the unscheduled players walks up.
Still Cameras are another good thing to bring. Just don’t show up with a telephoto lens. They will check to see if your zoom lens is too long. The limit is the length of a credit card. If your zoom lens extends further than that, take my advice, leave it at home or you will have to hike back to your vehicle, possibly missing practice time. No video cameras or tripods will be allowed, unless you have media credentials.
Lawn chairs and Umbrellas are a no-no. If the weather calls for rain (and it may this week), bring rain gear. Something comfortable to sit on is a good idea. Some folks bring a blanket to sit on. I have an air seat for my personal comfort.
Bring sunscreen, lip balm and bug repellent. You’ll be happy you did.
A roster printout for identifying players, especially the rookies, is something I bring. They will pass some out at the entrance, but it doesn’t get updated and the print is small. However, there is room for autographs on it.
You can bring bottled water or soda, just no alcohol. It must be in plastic bottles. No glass, aluminum cans or canteens. The reason for this is for player safety. There are times when the players run into the crowd chasing passes and the team doesn’t want anyone getting injured by cuts or stabbing umbrellas. There will be beverages available for purchase for $1 (it goes to charity) but I recommend bringing your own. A sandwich or snack might be a good idea, but you can always eat before or after. Soft-sided bags no larger than 12” x 12” x 12” will be permitted at training camp. I bring a plastic bag to carry my gear.
There will be a temporary Broncos’ Team Store located adjacent to the practice fields during training camp. You can’t miss it and if you forgot something to autograph, need a jersey, football, lip balm, poncho or a Sharpie, they have it. There is also a trailer located in the parking lot where you can purchase items before entering. They both accept Credit Cards.
The Parking Lot at the facility is on the west side of the practice fields and is open on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited, so it’s best to arrive early. Especially on the weekends and Day 1 The parking area is open about an hour before the start of each practice.
There are no bleachers at Training Camp, but fans will be seated along the west end of the practice fields on a grassy embankment (like the above picture shows). I like to sit between the 40′s to view the most action, but there are no bad seats. Again, Lawn chairs are not allowed (for player protection).
Fans with a Disability will have a comfortable elevated pavilion seating area that is Wheelchair accessible. Don’t worry, the players will come and visit anyone who sits in this area.
If you see me, stop and say hello. I will be the dude with the clipboard furiously writing notes for the rest of you.
I can’t wait for Thursday.
– Kaptain Kirk