WAITE PARK -- One of the first true sports bars in central Minnesota burned down Monday when fire consumed the Ultimate Sports Bar & Grill in Waite Park.

Owner Tom Frericks opened the joint in 1986 at the age of 24 and spent the last 34 years collecting signed sports memorabilia and committing to televise every sporting event which had a broadcast available. Oftentimes, those regional sports like North Dakota State Football had to be live-streamed over the internet.

The relationships with customers, the tireless drive to make the place better, and all the memories created by the memorabilia collection have left Frericks feeling empty inside...

It is the emptiest feeling, I personally, have ever felt. You get choked up when you talk about it and you compare it, unfortunately, to death because it is an equation of that nature.

At 57-years-old, Frericks isn't sure whether he'll rebuild.

He says the outpouring of support from the community is humbling and he is thankful for all of his customers, staff, and members of the community who helped his dream become a reality.

The State Fire Marshall is investigating the cause of Monday's blaze, but Waite Park Fire Chief Jim Aleshire has said while the cause has not been determined yet, they've found nothing to indicate anything suspicious.

The building is considered a total loss and will need to be torn down.

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