Twiggy the Wa­ter­ski­ing Squir­rel back in ac­tion

Orlando Sentinel (Sunday) - - PEOPLE & ARTS - By Patrick Con­nolly Or­lando Sen­tinel

OR­LANDO – Three months ago, it seemed like Twiggy the Wa­ter­ski­ing Squir­rel was fi­nally re­tir­ing af­ter nearly 40 years of cap­tur­ing the hearts of fans far and wide.

Lou Ann Best and Twiggy VIII did, in fact, re­tire to a qui­eter life in Cen­tral Florida. How­ever, there’s more to this furry, four-legged story.

As Lou Ann was get­ting ready to sell the com­pany en­tirely, her son Chuck Best stepped in. He thought, “What if there was a way to keep this wa­ter­ski­ing squir­rel busi­ness go­ing?”

Af­ter all, he had a six-year-old squir­rel, nick­named “Hol­ly­wood,” that could be trained on the skis. Chuck also just re­ceived a baby squir­rel — that would be dubbed “Twiggy X” — from a for­mer boss.

With these an­i­mals in hand, Chuck was pre­pared to keep the wa­ter­ski­ing squir­rel busi­ness afloat.

“I’m like, ‘Mom, you can’t sell it,’ ” Chuck said. “There’s too much we could be do­ing with this. I de­cided to go ahead and con­tinue the Twiggy leg­end.”

Since that fate­ful con­ver­sa­tion in Au­gust, Lou Ann of­fi­cially signed the busi­ness over to her son, who has been hard at work pre­par­ing for Twiggy’s up­com­ing pub­lic ap­pear­ances.

In re­cent months, Chuck has hired two new re­cruits — El­iz­a­beth Jones and Syd­ney Gar­rett — to help with mar­ket­ing and op­er­a­tions. He’s done things to re­vamp the show, such as in­tro­duc­ing a wake­board and bring­ing in Roxie the dog as a life­guard. Twig­gys nine and 10 have spent count­less hours train­ing.

Chuck sold his Jeep Wran­gler to get a Ford Tran­sit van. That’s be­cause Twiggy is go­ing on tour.

Next year will mark 40 years of the fa­mous wa­ter­ski­ing squir­rel and, ac­cord­ingly, Twiggy’s 40th-an­niver­sary tour.

A lot has changed since the phe­nom­e­non started in 1979. In an ef­fort to bring Twiggy into the 21st cen­tury, Gar­rett and Jones have given the squir­rel’s so­cial me­dia pres­ence some much-needed at­ten­tion. Twiggy is now on Face­book, In­sta­gram and YouTube.

“You have to re­al­ize that we’re putting three peo­ple, two squir­rels, a dog, a 24-foot pool and all of the things that come with that into this van,” Gar­rett said. “It’s go­ing to be su­per in­ter­est­ing.”

It’s not of­ten peo­ple get to see a be­hindthe-scenes look at the life of a wa­ter­ski­ing squir­rel. Jones said that was part of the mo­ti­va­tion for start­ing the YouTube chan­nel.

“We’re go­ing to show ev­ery­body more be­hind-the-scenes of train­ing Twiggy, our trav­els with Twiggy and ev­ery­thing that in­volves own­ing a squir­rel,” Jones said. “Ob­vi­ously, wa­ter­ski­ing is the most ex­cit­ing part of it all.”

In Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary, Twiggy will make stops at boat shows in Nashville, Tenn.; Cleve­land; In­di­anapo­lis; and Fargo, N.D., with other dates to be an­nounced. A full list of events is avail­able on Twiggy’s web­site.

Want to get in touch? You can find me on Twit­ter (@PCon­nPie), In­sta­gram (@pcon­npie) or send me an email: pcon­[email protected]­lan­dosen­


In Au­gust, it looked like Twiggy the Wa­ter­ski­ing Squir­rel was re­tir­ing for good. Then, Chuck Best stepped in to carry on the “Twiggy leg­end.”

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