Mary Burger, the 2016 world champion barrel racer, captivated rodeo fans last year when she became the oldest pro rodeo competitor to win a world title at 68.
Burger, who is from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, was in Fort Worth on Thursday night to compete in the Fort Worth Stock Show’s Super Shootout Rodeo. She finished third in barrel racing despite riding a second string, backup horse.
Her first string, big prize winning horse, Mo, currently is sidelined with a deep flexor tendon injury in his front left foot. She said she hopes Mo can return to the circuit in March and compete in RodeoHouston. Last year, Burger and Mo won the renowned Houston rodeo.
When Burger qualified for the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas at 68, she broke a record, becoming the oldest qualifier. The previous record was set in 2005 by June Holeman, who was 62 when she qualified in barrel racing.
When Burger clinched the world title at 68 at the National Finals on Dec. 10, she became the oldest world champion in Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association circuit to win a gold buckle. Ike Rude previously held the record for being the oldest gold buckle winner as the result of clinching the world steer roping title at age 59 in 1953.
Burger said she received lots of positive feedback for her accomplishments.
“It was off of the charts,” she said. “When I would sign autographs, people would say, ‘You’re an inspiration. I can’t believe you do this at your age. What do you do?’ I think I encouraged more people to get up off of the couch.”