Skiing squirrel? Nutty but true

Published January 20, 2007

Rodent superstar Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel is appearing at Tropicana Field this weekend as part of the Tampa Bay Boat Show.

(We'll pause here to let that sink in.)

The diminutive daredevil gave a show Friday afternoon under the watchful eye of handler and squirrel surrogate mom Lou Ann Best, whose late husband, Chuck, taught the original Twiggy how to ski behind a remote-controlled boat back in 1979. The two, along with Twiggy's successors, went on to fame after word of Twiggy's aquatic feats hit the media.

Sadly, Chuck Best died of a heart attack in 1997 while rescuing his stepfather from drowning.

During Friday's show, Best did her best to keep Twiggy, the fifth incarnation of the famed squirrel, from plunging into the portable pool off the skis, but apparent cell phone or electrical interference caused the radio-controlled boat to decelerate at one point, sending the bushy star into the drink. The veteran trouper furiously squirrel-paddled back to her perch - aided no doubt by her little life vest with its American flag design - and resumed the show after a thorough toweling from Best.

Twiggy is scheduled to give four more shows Saturday at the Trop at 1, 3, 5 and 7:30 p.m., and three on Sunday at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Admission to the show is $7 for adults, $3 for children 5-12. Parking in the Tropicana lot is $5.

Should Twiggy be unable to perform, says Best, stand-in Twiglet (affectionately known as Fatso because of her love for Dunkin Donuts) will be ready to go on as Twiggy VI.