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Will we be able to slide like a Man-tee-kan once again?

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POSTED February 18, 2010 3:03 a.m.

Remember what it was like to “Walk Like a Man-tee-kan”?

Or more precisely, what it was like to slide like a Man-tee-kan down the V-Maxx speed slide at what was once dubbed “the world famous” Manteca Waterslides.

World famous it was.

Almost anyone who lived in Manteca during the 30 years the Brown family’s venture was making a big splash has a story to tell of running into people while traveling – whether in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, or even Paris - who had heard of Manteca due to the waterslides.

It was a popular stop in the summer for those traveling to and from Yosemite to San Francisco for domestic and foreign tourists alike. The waterslide did more to promote Manteca and leave an impression with people from throughout Northern California except for one man – the late Bobby Davis.

Davis is the man that made Manteca famous with his signature cigar tipping sign-off for Manteca RV & Trailer while shouting the words “Maaan-teee-kaa!”

The “Walk Like a Mann-tee-kan” was a take-off on the 1986 hit “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Bangles.

Even with Bass Pro Shops and Big League Dreams it is arguable that there are a lot more people who think “waterslides” when you say Manteca than anything else. And the great thing about that is many have never even been to the waterslides that were actually located in a rural area to the south of Lathrop although it is definitely rural Manteca.

Manteca was actually the birthplace of waterslides in California. The original ones were poured from concrete and were inspired during a trip to Hawaii the Brown family made while trying to figure out what to do with the huge hole in the ground on their property created by the use of dirt to build up travel lanes on Interstate 5 through Lathrop.

Now there is a move afoot to capitalize on the image that the Manteca Waterslides created plus build on Manteca’s brand of “Hook, Wine & Sneakers”.

A developer is trying to piece together a proposal to locate a new waterslides park to the west of Big League Dreams. It is the type of project that requires marketing to potential operators and long-term planning. It won’t happen overnight and it may even take years for someone to go with it.

At any rate, it has a lot of potential especially next door to Big League Dreams that has 400,000-plus non-local residents attending tournaments over the course of 52 weeks. Most of those tournaments are kid’s teams but even the adult teams often have families with kids. And since there is plenty of time between games, can you imagine the appeal of securing an all-day pass at a waterslides park right next door would be?

Toss in Bass Pro Shops’ 2.3 million visitors in 2009 that come from a 100-mile radius and things start to make sense for a future operator.

It also adds incredible synergy to Manteca being a place for a “mini” weekend vacation for folks within two hours drive.

You could play baseball or softball here, visit Bass Pro Shops or the upscale outlet store targeted to open this spring, fish or boat in the Delta, or visit the water slides. Toss in the fact we have a 48-lane bowling alley – the largest in Northern California – the sixth largest family winery in the country with a wine tasting room open seven days a week, soccer fields clustered at Woodward Park with both lights as well as soil that drains readily, an 18-hole golf course, and a BMX track that is located near other amenities and you have the makings of Manteca becoming the place for weekend family fun.

What are the odds of securing another waterslide park?

Given the recreational draw that Manteca has, its location, and the fact the site adjacent to BLD is visible from the Highway 120 Bypass with easy freeway access, you couldn’t ask for a better site.

It may not be long until you can “Walk Like a Man-tee-kan” once again.

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