The Calgary Stampede's barrel racing competition is an old hat to Mary Burger.
For three days in a row, the 67-year-old Oklahoma grandmother has taken the top prize in the barrel racing competition, winning herself a total of $16,500 and a spot in Sunday's finals.
Burger began competing in 1984. She's the world champion barrel racer, with 39 rodeos under her belt and almost $100,000 in earnings this year alone.
“You know, several years back I used to think, ‘Well, I’ve got a little age on me’,” Burger told Global News. “But I’ve had so many people come up and say ‘you’re my inspiration’. When I hear the crowd go, I just get goosebumps all over, and I’m really, really proud.”
Mary Burger and her horse Mo compete at the Calgary Stampede on Saturday. (Photo: Mike Ridewood/Calgary Stampede)
After racing around the course in just 18.08 seconds on Sunday, the crowd rose for a standing ovation. But Burger admitted she was oblivious to the grand gesture.
“I knew the crowd went wild. I knew that they were noisy and I knew they were yelling for me, but I had no idea it was a standing ovation," she said in an interview with the Calgary Herald.
According to the stampede's official blog, she credits her horse Mo as one of the big secrets behind her success.
“My horse just really tries to please me, and he knows his job. He set a little bit hard on that first barrel, and popped my stirrup, so I was just hanging on, saying ‘go boy, do your thing’! And he did it," she said.
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