67-year-old Mary Burger wins 4 straight in Calgary Stampede barrel racing
The humble Oklahoman takes it one race at a time as she prepares to compete in finals
Mary Burger is on her way to the barrel racing finals at the Calgary Stampede after taking first place for the fourth time on Monday. She also happens to be 67 years old.
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"When I was little I had perthes disease [a hip joint condition] and my dad bought me a pony and that was my transportation until I was 10," Burger said. "Then he bought me a young horse and I trained it for barrel racing and I just rode ever since."
The cowgirl has been getting standing ovations at the Stampede after becoming a fan favourite.
"It's amazing, I've never had a standing ovation. I guess there was two or three of them, so I guess it's overwhelming that the crowd likes you that well," said the humble Oklahoman.
Mo, the other half
She's also not getting too preoccupied with the pressures of the competition, saying she just takes it "one run at a time."
The other half of her team, Mo, is a seven-year-old horse who's "very talented and he likes to show off a little bit when he's warming up some times."
"He bucks up in the air whenever he feels good and takes off running and shows off in front of people," Burger said.
"And he may flip his tail and kind of bounce around, just when he feels like it. When he does that, usually I'll just go back and stand 10 minutes and he'll settle down. He's just a little immature yet."
She said there's no secret to her success — she just goes through the routine of the race with Mo, and hopes for a good run.
'I really don't worry about it'
Burger will be in the finals on Sunday, vying for the top prize, but she's not letting that faze her either. While waiting for the competition, she'll either head to a friend's place, or just hang around the city while waiting for a package to arrive.
Mo, for his part, will likely get some alfalfa as a treat while they wait.
And when it finally comes time to race around the barrels, she'll remain grounded.
"I really don't worry about it, I just go out and try to make another great run," she said.
"It would be awesome. The money's great."
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With files from Sarah Lawrynuik