On the Road: Waseca - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

On the Road: Waseca

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 WASECA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Waseca is a place where a passion for America's simpler days still runs deep.

"This is a designated catch and release bass lake. And I'm a bass fisherman," said Jose Perez. 

Clear Lake is one of two in Waseca; reeling in anglers from all over.

Jose Perez and his buddy Larry come from Byron and Dodge Center to cast their lines.

"We haven't been doing so well today, only caught three," Perez said. 

But he promises this is a good place to stop.

"I've caught many five pounders and four pounders. It may not look like it today," he said.

It's a quiet place to fish if you can come during the week.

"The campground is popular especially on the weekends, it's crazy around here on the weekends."

That's when Waseca's population of 9,400 grows and another summertime favorite thrives.

Kiesler's campground welcomes those who've already gone on the road from all over the country, to relax right across the street from Clear Lake and its popular walking path.

"This first pontoon boat here is owned by the campground, so we can go out whenever we want!" said Shiela Dixon, a Texan who is visiting Waseca for the summer. 

Like many others, every summer, Shiela, her husband, and her dog Beau pack up their RV and head north, seeking refuge in the mild Minnesota sun from sweltering Texas summers.

"That's what we planned for our retirement," she said.

Just a few miles away, we find a place where legacy flourishes in a worn leather glove.

At Tink Larson field, players have run the bases since 1938. 

"Fundamentals is such an important part of the game," said Tink Larson as he throws a baseball to reporter Devin Bartolotta. 

"Well, baseball's been a big deal for a long time," he said. "When this baseball field was built back in 1938, it was a WPA project."

Minnesota baseball legend Tink Larson has been "Coach Larson" to thousands of baseball players for more than 50 years.

"Baseball really took off after WWII in the Southern Minnesota, with Rochester and Austin, and they used to draw thousands of fans for games. So baseball was huge back then and we've had good baseball tradition here ever since," Larson said. 

That tradition lives on in the five baseball teams that call Tink Larson Field home. A place where the pulse of an American pastime flows in a diamond that Tink cares for himself.

"I think it's beautiful out here. I looked at every house all the way up this side and all the way down this side, until I found this one 11 years ago, and it's kind of like moving to heaven, so to speak," Larson said. 

As we made our way through Waseca, we found a lot of little Heavens, including one that's been holding a tune for half a century.

Jim Kozan runs Waseca Music, where you can find just about anything from used band equipment, to sheet music, to those albums you listened to as a kid.

"A lot of the stuff is stuff that they've lost because we've already had it for 20 or 30 years! It's kind of fun watching that, 'Oh! i lost that 20 years ago and i can get it now!' It's fun, it's fun," said Kozan. 

Competing directly with online music sales, Waseca Music has managed to stay afloat since 1952.

The walls of Waseca Music can tell you as much of a story as the owner.

"Mostly it's about Waseca and Waseca county and Southern Minnesota, so we just started putting these on the wall," he said, pointing to one of dozens of posters and frames that plaster the walls. 

Kozan said part of the fun of being a Waseca staple is sharing the history.

"We've got the Gear Daddies here," Kozan said while pointing at a newspaper clipping in a frame. "And actually their lead guitar player is Randy Broughton and he's from Waseca!"

They're just a piece of a town that's a great place to live or visit if you've got a little soul.

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