The cliche ‘it’s not her first rodeo’ is an understatement for barrel racer Mary Burger.
For the second day straight, 67-year-old Burger was victorious in barrel racing at the Calgary Stampede after making a 17.72 and is the Pool A leader.
The Oklahoma grandmother has not only won herself $11,000, but also the hearts of many fans. She’s been an inspiration to supporters by earning top honours in her golden years.
Before Burger even enters the arena, the grandstand crowd roars for her.
“You know, several years back I used to think, ‘well, I’ve got a little age on me’,” Burger said. “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.”
Burger even made her entire run with one foot out of the stirrup of her saddle.
“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.”
Utah’s Caleb Bennett accomplished the same feat in bareback riding, after scoring 86 points on a horse called Sexy Bucks, a half point more than Alberta’s Dusty LaValley and Colin Adams of Manitoba. Bennett is on top in Pool A with $11,000.
For the second day in a row, an Alberta bull rider claimed the first place $5,500 cheque. Devon Mezei of Carstairs rode 2 Dark 2 C to 85 points, to sit tied for second in the Pool A race, behind leader Ryan Dirteater of Oklahoma.