WASECA — Call it a hat trick.
Ivagene and Roger Koblinski found the Sleigh and Cutter medallion again this year — their third time finding it.
They are avid medallion hunters only missing a few years of the 23 years the medallion hunt has been a part of the Sleigh and Cutter festival.
The Koblinski’s have found the medallion three times now with many years being close to finding it.
“This was probably one of the toughest years I think,” Roger said. “We spent 20 to 30 hours actually digging. It was frozen snow and it was on the ground and of course we knew it, but you had to dig right down to the ground to find it.”
The medallion was found at the bottom of a frozen snow pile at Northwest Park in Waseca.
On Saturday, Feb. 8 the Koblinski’s started looking at the park at 10 a.m. when it was one degree below zero outside. Thinking they would only stay for 30 minutes they still came prepared to stay longer and ended up staying six hours until they found it.
“Everyone that was there was supportive and as excited as we were, I thought,” Roger said. “It’s not like you’re envious of somebody finding it, it was like a team effort almost and they just missed out. It’s got good camaraderie and everyone’s supportive.”
The last clue is what directed them out to Northwest Park where they followed the directions of how many paces from landmarks they should go before they began digging. Once they began digging they kept expanding the oval until they had an oval 10 feet long and about 12 feet wide.
Ivagene was the one to find the medallion while she and Roger dug in the park surrounded by others digging as well.
“It was kind of exciting because I had shoveled a little and I thought I could see just a little bit of a bag sticking out of the ground and thought that had to be it,” Ivagene said. “So I shoveled one or two more shovels and dug it out.”
They spoke of years they were right on top of the medallion and didn’t end up finding it and how it has still been fun to do the hunt.
“It’s a disappointment when you don’t find it, but it takes a lot of perseverance because of the temperature, the conditions, the snow,” Roger said. “It’s really tough to keep mentally motivated. A lot of people give up.”
The Koblinskis spoke of the mental toughness that is needed to find the medallion along with an open mind when sharing advice for others to find it.
“We discuss it about everyday,” Roger said of the clues. “You’ve got to delete yesterday’s mindset and try to create a new mindset and that’s tough to do because you said it’s got to be there and you’ll spend day after day there and it’s not there. You have got to eliminate it or you can’t get it out of your mind. Persistence, everyday come with a new mindset. Keep re-reading the clues and keep an open mindset and don’t give up.”
They talked of how the medallion hunt is an activity that anyone and everyone can participate in and they all have the same advantages of being able to read the clues each week. Though Ivagene did say they might have a slight advantage being they have been in Waseca for over 30 years learning the parks and different areas of town.
Ivagene also grew up participating in most of the Sleigh and Cutter festival events and has continued with Roger.
“I’ve participated in Sleigh and Cutter all my life because my grandfather had a four horse hitch that he was always in the Sleigh and Cutter parade,” Ivagene said. “So I’ve always grown with it and always participated. My parents always participated even though they were from the St. Claire area. My grandparents were from Waseca area so we always went to the Sleigh and Cutter Festival and the dance or the meal or to whatever they had. So I participated in it for a number of years.”