The story of Twiggy the water skiing squirrel

By WEEK Producer

February 18, 2013 Updated Feb 18, 2013 at 10:56 PM CDT

He's the squirrel who's inspired countless YouTube posts and television newscast kickers.

Thirty-three years after first climbing onto a pair of skis, Twiggy the water skiing squirrel is still riding the wake behind a scale-model power boat and still delighting legions of fans at boat and outdoor shows across the country.

"Twiggy's a magical squirrel," shouted one enchanted preschooler at the St. Cloud Sportsmen's Show.

Truth be told, squirrels don't live 33 years - even those athletic enough to ski. Eight squirrels have worn the Twiggy banner since Chuck Best, a roller rink owner from Deltona, Florida, trained the first Twiggy to ski.

Chuck's wife Lou Ann says it all came about by accident after her husband played nurse to a baby squirrel that had fallen out of a tree during a hurricane.

"My husband, he was a nut," she said. The kind of nut who might look at his daughter's toy power boat and then his squirrel - and wonder, what if?

It wasn't long before Twiggy was being seen in newspapers and on television around the world. The traveling show started not long after.

A story that crazy deserves a happy ending, but in Chuck's case it was not to be.

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