Tucker Peve remembers the first time he met Blue Springs High School football coach Kelly Donohoe, whose Wildcats play at Peve Stadium.
"I was a student at the Freshman Center, and I lived in the Blue Springs South School District, and Coach Donohoe came up to me and said, ‘It’s a shame you’re not with us so you could play in your grandpa’s stadium.’
"My grandpa was Billy Peve, and he was president of the school board when he passed away. To honor him, the stadium at Blue Springs High – which was the only stadium in Blue Springs at the time – was named after him.
"It was so special for me to play against Blue Springs in the stadium that was named after my grandfather, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences at Blue Springs South for anything."
One memory will always shine brightly – a 40-37 Class 6 state championship over Christian Brothers College High School that featured a remarkable performance by Connor Harris, who returned an interception for a score, ran for a touchdown and kicked two field goals, along with picking off a pass late in the game to seal the victory.
"Connor Harris!" Peve said, grinning. "That game belonged to Connor Harris! He did everything, and those are the games you remember. But the things I really remember are the practices or the bus rides, or just doing stuff with your friends."
That’s why Peve is so pleased to still be a part of two championship programs – the six-time NCAA Division II national champion Northwest Missouri State University football team and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
"I’ve been so lucky," said Peve, an award-winning equipment manager at Northwest Missouri who has created several helmets to honor players and events. "I traded my gear to take care of players’ gear and it’s been amazing.
"I’m part of the team and that’s what makes it so special – to be a part of a successful team where I appreciate what the players do and they appreciate what I do for them."
While Blue Springs South was once his second home, he now finds residences at Northwest Missouri’s Lamkin Activity Center in Maryville and Arrowhead Stadium.
As a freshman at Northwest, Peve worked as a student employee in the athletic training room. But his passion was across the hall in the locker room.
When a student manager job opened, he jumped on it and has never looked back.
"When I first came to Northwest I wanted to be the history teacher-football coach," Peve said. "A week or two into that, I quickly realized it wasn’t for me. I looked at how I could take the football thing and make it into a career, and I found my niche."
Last fall, after earning a bachelor’s degree in business management and sport management and a master’s degree in applied health science at Northwest, he joined the university’s full-time staff as director of football equipment operations.
"My experience at Northwest as a student manager, running the show for the football team, helped me be career ready," Peve said. "Working with Coach (Adam) Dorrel and Coach (Rich) Wright, they were awesome leaders to learn from and really laid the groundwork for a great future."
Peve also completed internships with the Baltimore Ravens and USA Football. He began working with the Chiefs as an equipment intern in 2015 and continues to help the organization with their equipment needs as a part-time employee.
Peve works Chiefs home games, as well as its training camp. He also worked with the equipment staff at the NFL Pro Bowl in 2017 and 2018.
"I’m really blessed in Kansas City," Peve said. "The director of equipment, Allen Wright, is the best in the NFL. Allen and his staff have taken me under their wings and showed me the ropes in the NFL. It’s great working with the two best programs in the state. I’m looking forward to the upcoming season."