KANSAS CITY - The 2014 World Series wasn't the only World Series in Kansas City Wednesday.
The 118th American Royal Livestock Show kicked off in Kansas City, an event with strong ties to the 2014 American League champions. While the Kansas City Royals played their first game in 1969, their namesake preceded the game by 70 years.
In 1968, the future Oakland Athletics left Kansas City for the Bay Area.The MLB, wanting to expand, granted Kansas City one of four new expansion teams.
That same year, Ewing Kauffman bought the team and put out a call to the people of Kansas City to name his new franchise. He received 18,000 entries. The Mules and the Cowpokes were considered, but ultimately, the team would become the Royals.
Kansas City man Sanford Porte submitted the winning entry. Porte said the team should be named for the American Royal because it best reflected the billion-dollar livestock industry. He said the show's "parade and pageantry" provided the perfect symbol for the team
Once Kauffman decided on a name, he needed a logo. Porte included sketches of possible designs in his initial pitch, as well as suggestions for a team mascot. Porte proposed the golden palomino should represent the team, but in 2014 fans know the lion, Slugger.
After Kauffman decided on the Royal, Kansas City residents asked Kansas City based company, Hallmark, to facilitate the design of its logo. Hallmark spokesperson Linda Odell shared some of the designs that didn't make the cut. Some of the names that Kauffman considered included the "Mules" and the "Cowpokes"
Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards helped design the first logo. The obvious choice was to include a crown it its design. Shannon Manning, a now deceased card maker for the company, started work in 1967. He said when the Royals emerged as a new team, the people of Kansas City were delighted by its possibilities.
"They wanted gold and they wanted Royal Blue and they would like a crown," Now-deceased Card maker Shannon Manning said in a video shared by Hallmark.
He said Hallmark experimented with different logos including putting different mascots like a horse and a baseball inside the loop of the "R." He said he thought the company made the right choice in leaving it alone.
"The Kansas City Royals baseball team, who we are all so proud of and wishing well, is named after the American Royal of Kansas City," American Royal Association President Bob Peterson said.
Despite the events and the contest, the American Royal serves predominantly as a non-profit. Peterson said the organization spends 1.4 million dollars annually including educational and scholarship programs. He said that work "really is the story" of the American Royal.
The American Royal dates back to 1899 and still takes place at the historic Kansas City Stockyards, in the West Bottoms area. The stockyards, as well as the five major packing companies, employed thousands in the early days of Kansas City. Peterson said the livestock industry accounted for 80 percent of the Kansas City's economic activity.
With the enormous impact the livestock industry had, the naming the team after the Royal seemed most appropriate. And Peterson said each fall connections between the show and the baseball team emerges.
"It's so ironic and with such great symmetry that we're going into the World Series just as our livestock show is unfolding."
Peterson said competitors moved in 1,200 cattle Wednesday, with 500 hogs moving in Thursday. Nearly 2000 exhibitors from 34 states will participate in events in the coming week. Peterson said the event is one of the most prestigious livestock shows in the nation.
Peterson said in 2013, the grand champion steer sold for $170,000. He said the price is split between the competitor and the show, which uses the money to fund its scholarship programs.
Competitors traveled from across the country to show prized hogs, sheep, and cattle. The national Hereford Show was the first of its kind in 1899, as it was the first to showcase and sell purebred cattle in the nation.
The American Royal is also home to the World's largest BBQ contest. 70,000 attend the annual contest for the BBQ, including 560 BBQ teams
"The American Royal is about champions and championships and finding the best of its kind," Peterson said. "We're here about championship animals and our baseball team is having a wonderful year this year in terms of baseball championships."
"This is the first time in 29 years that Kansas City has got to be cheering, in October, for a World Series baseball team. How does it get any better than that?"
The Kansas City Royals defeated the San Francisco Giants 7-2 Wednesday night in Kansas City. The team will play in San Francisco Friday.