About The Sports Commission

Founded in 1997, the St. Joseph, Missouri Sports Commission is the umbrella support group of the St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau focused on sports tourism with a mission to enhance the economic growth and vitality of the area through the creation and attraction of sports and recreation events to St. Joseph.

After a long period of dormancy, the process to reform the commission began in the summer of 2018 and in January of 2019 the rebirth was complete with a new Board of Directors and vision for the future. Highlights of the first year included a formal kickoff event featuring Negro Leagues Museum President Mr. Bob Kendrick. Since the rebirth, the commission has been active in a multitude of different activities. Specific points of pride include:

  • Successfully completed a virtual 5K which raised $5,100 for the United Way’s COVID relief fund
  • Partnered in helping secure three NCAA Championships for St. Joseph
  • Established St. Joseph Area Sports Hall of Fame
  • Led focus group to begin talks and formulate a plan for major improvements to the St. Joseph Civic Arena
  • Working toward becoming a more financially stable organization
  • Working with local entities on needs to secure/create sporting events that fit in St. Joseph

Meet The Director

Brett Esely

Director of Development & Sports Commission


After 21 years in athletics administration at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Brett Esely began his new role as the Director of Development & Sports Commission for St. Joseph, Missouri Convention Visitors Bureau on January 3, 2022.  In this role, Esely oversees various development functions of general tourism in Buchanan County for the bureau and will direct all facets of the county’s newly-created sports commission which Esely helped reform in January of 2019.

Esely left Missouri Western in early November of this year after serving as Senior Associate Athletics Director.  In this role he was responsible for the athletics department’s marketing, advertising, public relations, corporate partnerships and event management as well as being a part of MWSU’s leadership team in the operations for Kansas City Chiefs Summer Training Camp.  In addition, Esely has chaired the MIAA Basketball Tournament Committee since it’s inception in 2008, has served as the Tournament Director of 19 NCAA Championships held in St. Joseph and is the official starter for the NCAA Division II Men’s & Women’s Golf Championships.

He led a record-setting booster club fund raising drive in the middle of a pandemic in 2020-21 and has conducted four straight record-setting Charity Golf Classics in partnership with the YWCA Shelter in St. Joseph. Additionally, he led the creation of the St. Joseph Area Sports Hall of Fame which conducted its inaugural induction ceremony this past September.

For his efforts, Esely was named a “20 Who Count” recipient in 2021 as selected by the St. Joseph News-Press, an award designated for those who have made a significant impact on the community over the past year.

Esely is born and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri graduating from Central High School in 1997 and Missouri Western State University in 2001. He and his wife Kate have two children, Dax and Ashtyn.


  • Patsy Smith – CHAIR – Retired Athletics Administrator, Missouri Western State University
  • Bob Roth – VICE CHAIR – Retired President of the Hillyard Companies
  • Marci Bennett – TREASURER/SECRETARY – Executive Director – St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Joey Austin – Media & Community Relations Director – Mosaic Life Care
  • Dr. Brenda Blessing – St. Joseph City Council
  • Dick Deshon – Retired President/General Manager Artesian Ice
  • Dave Elms – Retired Athletics Director – East Buchanan High School
  • Ron Hook – Western District Commissioner – Buchanan County
  • Chuck Kempf – Director – St. Joseph Parks & Recreation Department
  • Patt Lilly – Retired President & CEO – St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce
  • Danny Maggart – Principal – St. Joseph Christian School
  • Dr. Robert Sigrist – Director of Non Academic & Student Services – St. Joseph School District
  • Bob Slater – Retired Executive Editor – St. Joseph News-Press
  • Mary Supple – Director of Sales/Sports Marketing Sales – St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Ky Turner – Owner – St. Joseph Mustangs
  • Mike Ziesel – Retired Coach & Administrator – Benton High School
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