The Twin Cities River Rats trace their roots to the University of Minnesota Water Ski Club which was formed in 1979 as part of the University of Minnesota Recreational Sports program where they skied on Lake Independence.
In the summer of 1982, the ski club teamed with Two Rivers to perform at the Flotilla Frolics in Hastings and the University of Minnesota Water Ski Show was born. The show returned to Hastings and performed solo in 1983 and 1984, featuring a spectacular flying barefoot start from a railroad bridge.
In 1985, the Club purchased a new Ski Nautique and moved operations to Turtle Lake in Shoreview. 1987 found the show skiers uniformed in standard swimwear as they performed again at Champlin and Hastings. Perhaps the show should properly be called an exhibition since there was no real theme or storyline.
The modern era was ushered in by the move to Buffalo Lake in 1990. That year included improvements in a number of aspects, leading off with a greatly expanded schedule of shows and sites. For the first time, the show involved a genuine theme, an announcer who developed the storyline, and unique costumes for each specific act. Skiers also attended annual trips to the Wisconsin Think Tank and weekly winter practices.
In 1990 the club moved from Turtle Lake to a temporary home on the Mississippi River near Champlin and eventually found a permanent home on Buffalo Lake. The nineties also marked the clubs commitment to show skiing. With improved themes, costumes and skiing, the flow, difficulty, and announcing of the show reached new heights. The Club performed an amazing thirteen shows that summer and was evolving into a true show team.
In 1992 the club compteted in the first ever Minnesota State Ski Show Tournament. The small, relatively unknown team from Buffalo Lake had the crowd on their feet and roaring with laughter!
1995 began with a commitment to find a new site closer to the Twin Cities which would encourage continued growth. The Team practiced once on Long Lake in the town of Long Lake before scouting the Mississippi River for potential sites. When a suitable location just north of the Broadway bridge was identified, the team moved in and quickly called it home. The next year the team donned a new logo and nicknamed themselves the Twin Cities River Rats.
Since then the name has stuck and the River Rats continue to improve every year by adding difficult acts, more equipment, new members, and more exciting shows! We also continue to contribute to the Twin Cities community by offering free, family entertainment through our shows, tournaments and ski clinics. The River Rats also proudly participate in community clean up days and are active in the Mississippi Riverfront development programs. Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy the show!