mary burger and mo cowgirl magazine barrel racer

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If one were to gather the top seven money earners from the 2016 rodeo circuit in one room, you’d have a gaggle of hunky team ropers, one tie down roper, one bulldogger, and one sixty-eight year old grandmother: Mary Burger. Over ten nights of brutal competition in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this past December, Burger and her handsome buckskin Mo beat out such barrel racing luminaries as Sherry Cervi, Amberleigh Moore, and Lisa Lockhart to rack up an impressive $277,553.51 in world earnings for 2016—and take home the title of World Champion Barrel Racer. In fact, with the help of several big wins earlier in the year, including inside at Rodeo Houston ($54,750) and outside at the Calgary Stampede ($100,000), Mary had entered the NFR with a sizable earnings lead.  Perhaps a result of her maturity, the modest horsewoman does not seem particularly  concerned  about the titles, or the glory.  But that doesn’t keep the plainly dressed, bling-less Burger from bending her horse around the cans faster than most of the racers a third of her age. She gives much of the credit to her horses. Mary’s first WPRA title was on an exceptional sorrel gelding named Rare Fred, whom she trained and rode but didn’t own.  Rodeoing became less of a priority as she focused on a career training futurity horses, that is, until at 62 years young she bought an incredible two year old buckskin stud named Sadiesfamouslastwords. She calls him Mo. After a gelding surgery and five years of riding, Mo is a strong, spirited, and spunky seven year old who jut seems to be getting better. Mary’s husband and constant companion Kerry is a farrier and makes sure his wife’s horses’ feet are well taken care of.  Two sons, Todd and Joey Burger, and daughter-in-law, P.J. Burger are also ardent supporters. The oldest competitor in professional rodeo history to win a world championship (and the oldest WNFR qualifier of all time) has become an inspiration for women of a certain age wondering if a dream has passed them by.  The takeaway: it’s never too late!