SportKC PROPS Event Honors Willie Lanier, Mitch Holthus, Jamaal Charles And Others

The Kansas City Sports Commission threw a nice party on Wednesday evening at the Midland Theater in downtown Kansas City. Local athletes and sports personalities descended on the Midland to be recognized for their contributions to sports in the Kansas City community.

The event, SportKC PROPS, stands for People Recognizing Outstanding People of Sports.

If you haven't been to the Midland, then you're missing out. It's an old, old building in Kansas City with a lot of history. At one point the emcee, Kevin Kietzmann of 810 WHB, said he was told it was the first building with air conditioning in it. That's still under the "tall-tale" file for now.

After someone from the Sports Commission Lexa Alley, from the Sports Commission, sang the national anthem to open the event, Kietzmann said, "I didn't want to make her nervous before singing but she just sang on the same stage as Frank Sinatra."

Yeah, there's some history there.

They were taking donations to benefit some of the Kansas City Sports Commission programs throughout the year. They also had a silent auction. Items up for bid included: Jamaal Charles autographed jersey, Chiefs four-pack of tickets, four Mizzou tickets/$40 Jackstack BBQ gift certificate/Boulevard Beer, Shaq autographed picture (random!), Kyle Davies autographed jersey, Albert Callapso autographed ball, Priest Holmes autographed jersey, Mitch Holthus on your voicemail and an autographed Bill Snyder picture, among many others.

(If you're interested in donating, click here)

Here are a few of the many interesting awards:

Mitch Holthus - Joe McGuff Sports Journalist Of The Year

The "Voice Of The Chiefs" Mitch Holthus received the Joe McGuff Sports Journalist Of The Year Award. Holthus has been the "Voice Of The Chiefs" since 1994 which is the longest tenure in Chiefs history. He's in all kinds of Hall of Fames for Kansas broadcasting so award shows are nothing new to him but he did admit the McGuff award was very special.

Holthus talked about the Monday Night Football opener and said Chiefs COO Mark Donovan was a big reason that Kansas City got the game. He says Donovan walked into Goodell's office and said, "We need that game" and wouldn't take no for an answer.

Holthus also had a quick comment that he thinks Donovan will be Commissioner one day. I've heard from plenty of people that he is one of the brightest minds in the Chiefs organization.

Holthus also talked about a trip the Chiefs made up to Whiteman Air Force Base (which I attended) and they met Sgt. Richard Brownley. He had a daughter named McKenzie with Leukemia.

Holthus was asked to speak to the family and he said he was worried that he would look sad when talking to the family, which is what they didn't want. However, his eyes lit up when he met McKenzie and had some very nice things to say about her. You could tell it was a special moment for him.

He also talked about the Chiefs relationship with the VFW and his desire to make Veteran's Day even bigger in this country. He wants Kansas City and the VFW HQ to be the leaders in that area. Hey, I wouldn't mind -- my birthday is Veteran's Day.

The VFW, by the way, helped McKenzie achieve her dream of one day being on a boat (Disney cruise!).

Jamaal Charles - Special Achievement Award For Professional Athletics

Charles' speech was like his game -- quick. It's not the easiest thing in the world to speak in front of a big crowd.

Darrell Stuckey - Co-Collegiate Male Athlete Of The Year

I talked a little about his award in the Cowtown Rundown but I can rehash it.

Stuckey came to accept his award after Holthus had thanked Mark Donovan and the Chiefs for getting the Monday Night Football opener in Kansas City so that his first NFL game would be in front of the hometown fans.

He said everything he's done in his life that's been great, has been in the Kansas City area.

Stuckey is a Kansas City, Kan., native, went to Washington High School and then onto Kansas.

Willie Lanier - Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award

Now, I know Willie Lanier's name. I know his accomplishments on the field. I know he's a Hall of Famer and a major part of the Chiefs history.

But what I didn't know about Lanier is that he's so well-spoken, well-educated and driven to make education an important part of the student-athlete life. He gave an outstanding speech remembering his time with the Hunt family and how his relationship with them brought so many opportunities for him.

Once Lanier was announced to the crowd, he received a standing ovation for about 30 seconds. They showed a highlight clip of his career with the Chiefs as well.

He told one story of Lamar Hunt that I thought was pretty cool. It's a story he said isn't told very often.

He was involved with some folks that had been giving away scholarship money to kids in the Virginia area. In 1990, he asked Hunt to come and speak at one of his events to draw some attention to it. Of course he agreed. Hunt had gone to Berlin to promote the Chiefs and Rams game and actually flew back to the United States, rented his own car, and drove down to Richmond, VA to speak at the event.

Lanier says that meant so much to him. He talked of Hunt renting his own car and driving himself around and said, despite his money and fame, that's just the type of guy he was.

The theme of his speech was the relationships he's made because of the Chiefs and where it's taken him.

Joke Of The Night

There were two good jokes from the evening that made me laugh.

The first one comes from Bill Hancock who is the executive director of the BCS and formally in the same role with the NCAA tournament. He was there to accept the Casey Award.

He was talking about all the important moments in his life and how they've all been in Kansas City. One of them was his first kiss which came on the KU campus while he was at music camp.

Yes, music camp.

"I guess I'm the real-life version of 'This one time at band camp..."

The second one came courtesy of Kietzmann, who I'm sure we all remember as someone that mercilessly bashed former Chiefs GM Carl Peterson. Kietzmann joked that the only reason the Kansas City Sports Commission allowed him to emcee the event was because Peterson is no longer employed by the Chiefs.

Somehow, I think that one is true.

***

If you're into Kansas City sports, then this was the event of the year (assuming there's no World Series or Super Bowl this year). It was well put together, the speeches were solid and Kietzmann did a good job as the emcee.

Well done, Kansas City Sports Commission.

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