Eufaula cemented its self-proclaimed title as the “Big Bass Capital of the World” Tuesday with the dedication of the city’s newest attraction-a 10-foot bass statue appropriately named “Manny”.
“We had about 40 suggestions on what to name the new statue,” said Mayor Jack Tibbs at Tuesday’s unveiling of the new attraction. The ultimately chose “Manny” to honor Eufaula fishing legend Tom Mann.
“We have already gotten tons of press off of (the bass statue) before it was even done,” said Tibbs.
Tibbs credits Alabama State Tourism Director Lee Sentell for coming up with the idea as a way to promote Eufaula as a tourism destination. Tibbs and Main Street Director Ann Sparks thought up the design of the statue and relied on Replica Plastics of Dothan to make their vision come to life.
“It’s been a pleasure from the first call with Ann Sparks to really build a landmark,” said Replica Plastics owner Jenny Hendricks. “We couldn’t be more honored to take this vision and see it come to life.”
Also unveiled a few yards away from the new bass statue Tuesday was a historic marker honoring the big fish’s namesake, William Thomas “Tom” Mann.
Mann’s grandchildren, Tripp Dixon and Alanna Meadows read the wording placed on the front and back of the marker, respectively.
“Tom Mann achieved fame as a fishing lure designer/manufacturer and helped put Lake Eufaula on the map with his popular television shows,” the inscription states. “With an investment of $5, he and his wife, Ann, started Mann’s Bait Company in 1958. Later, he would launch Humminbird Industries and Southern Plastics…he made Eufaula the hub of the fishing lure industry.”
Mann was inducted into the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2003 and was named by the Alabama Tourism Department as one of Alabama’s “most unforgettable faces.”
Those attending Tuesday’s dedication included several members of the Mann family, including his three daughters Nelda Mann Culpepper, Cindy Mann Blocker, and Sharon Mann Dixon; fishing legend and long-time friend of Tom Mann, Ray Scott, Alabama State Tourism Director Lee Sentell; young anglers from the Lakeside and Eufaula High bass fishing teams, and many more.