Earlier this year, American Family Insurance ran an enter-to-win contest to give away a Sporting Kansas City road trip. Jordyn Emert was selected as the winner and received a free trip for her and three friends to Sporting Kansas City's game against the Portland Timbers on Aug. 7 at Providence Park. Below is a recap of Jordyn's adventure in the Rose City.
Winning a trip to Portland to watch Sporting Kansas City meant a lot more to me than just a road game. It was a chance to fly my brother-in-law, Tate, and best friend, Sam, (who live in different cities) to Portland to cheer on the boys in blue with my husband, Kyler. After reuniting in the Portland airport with what appeared to others to be more of a tackle than a hug, we headed to our hotel. In the short time it took to drive to our hotel, we knew it was going to be a fun and unforgettable weekend.
We stayed at The Nines, a luxury hotel and one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed in. It was especially cool because we were staying there with the team. As we headed out the door for the Portland Saturday Market, we ran into three Sporting KC players on the elevator. None of us could speak. All we could do was stare -- we were starstruck.
We made our way through the market looking at the products for sale and stopping to eat at several of the countless food stands. Each of us bought food from different food trucks and then we shared, so we were able to have Mexican, Greek and Chinese food in one meal. Stomaches full, we walked to the famous Powell’s City of Books. The bookstore stretches from one end of the block to the next, and raises several stories. We walked through the stacks, taking in the million plus books on their shelves. Next, we made sure to sample Portland’s coffee and walked to Stumptown Coffee Roasters for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Refueled with caffeine, we went to the Nike Factory Store (after all, Nike’s headquarters are located in Portland) in search of any good deals. A few of us scored and walked out with new tennis shoes and apparel! After a quick break at the hotel we set off for dinner. We chowed down on some burgers and fries at Deschutes Brewery and, knowing Portland is famous for its beer, we sampled flights of brews. Even though we were stuffed from eating our way through the market food trucks, we decided to stop at Salt and Straw, an ice cream shop known for its crazy flavors. We waited in line for nearly an hour before we could finally sit down and eat our seriously delicious ice cream, definitely worth the wait. Tired and bellies full, we returned to the hotel to catch a few hours sleep before the next day’s game.
Sunday was an extremely full day. We woke up and walked to a local favorite, Tasty n Alder, for brunch. Faced with an hour wait, we decided to get coffee at Case Study Coffee Roasters. Back at Tasty n Alder we enjoyed an enormous family-style brunch; lemon ricotta pancakes, omelets, and Korean barbecue were just a few of the plates we shared.
At around 11:30 a.m. we walked to Providence Park where Sporting KC would take on the Portland Timbers. We were escorted down to the field where we were able to watch the players kick around and warm up for the game. It was an incredible experience to be on the field and so close to the players we normally watch from numerous rows up at Children’s Mercy Park. Just before game time we took our seats just a fews rows behind Sporting’s bench. The atmosphere at Providence Park was intense -- the fans were loud, scarves waved frantically, and a man with a chainsaw sliced off chunks of a log with every Timbers goal. Coupled with two red cards, the crowd was riled up. We cheered and we chanted as the team fought hard against the Timbers. Ultimately, the game ended in a less than favorable score, but we had the best time just being together and cheering on the team.
After the game, we made our way toward the hotel for an afternoon nap, stopping first to grab a late lunch at the food stands. Upon returning to the hotel we made our way up to the rooftop bar for drinks overlooking the Portland skyline. Later that night we grabbed pizza at Oven and Shaker for dinner. Since it was so late by the time we finished dinner, knowing we wouldn’t want to get up any earlier than we had to, we decided to walk to Voodoo Doughnut to grab doughnuts for breakfast the next morning. Voodoo Doughnut, an iconic shop in the heart of Portland, is known for its eccentric shapes, names and flavors. We grabbed seven different doughnuts to split between the four of us. Some of our samples included the Voodoo Doll and doughnuts topped with Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs and real bacon!
On Monday, we only had a few hours to experience the last little bit of Portland we could before we left that afternoon. We woke up early, sampled all seven of our Voodoo doughnuts, and headed for more coffee at Barista before our Segway tour. By that point we were loaded with sugar, which only increased our excitement for our tour. After meeting our tour guide and watching him demonstrate how to properly maneuver a Segway, I will admit I was more than nervous. Kyler, Tate and Sam were naturals, weaving in and out and flying around. I, however, was clearly not a natural. It took a lot of concentration to not send myself or the Segway flying. Our tour of Portland by Segway, though, was a blast! We were able to see so much of Portland we would not have been able to see on foot. After reminiscing on our experiences in Portland over lunch, we headed back to the hotel to gather our belongings and head home.
I will forever be grateful for Sporting Kansas City and American Family Insurance for allowing us to experience a new city and soccer stadium. Though in the end the scoreboard didn’t agree, the experience was a win in our books. We made memories that will last a lifetime.