Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel retires after nearly 40 years

MINNEAPOLIS — After 39 years of entertaining fans, Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel has officially retired.

The squirrel made famous in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and singer Brad Paisley’s music video, “River Bank,” made her final performance Sunday in the X Games in Minneapolis.

In her final act, Twiggy stood upon a pair of water skis controlled by a remote control boat.

Lou Ann Best, who describes herself as Twiggy's mom, told WTSP that the current Twiggy is 10 years old -- there have been seven-- and she is ready for retirement.

"We've moved to a 55-plus community," Best said.

Best started training squirrels to water ski after the drowning death of her husband, an auxiliary trooper with the Florida Highway patrol, drowned after he jumped in a river to rescue his stepfather, who had fallen out of a boat.

Best told KARE her late husband came up with the idea of a water-skiing squirrel after he nursed a baby squirrel back to health. He whittled water skis out of Styrofoam and taught the squirrel to ski on his daughter's toy boat.

Since his death in 1997, Lou Ann and Twiggy have been teaching kids about water safety, and have made thousands of appearances, hoping to be to water safety what Smokey the Bear was for fire safety, KARE reports.


The squirrel’s final performance in Minneapolis brought the story full circle -- the first Twiggy performed for the first time at a real estate convention there 39 years ago.

Best told WTSP she is in talks with an individual who would train a new squirrel to continue the Twiggy tradition.

She said would only consider selling her business if it still focused on the message of water safety.