For many of us, once we're fortunate enough to hit the age of 68, it's time to think about retirement. Maybe a little travel, maybe a little golfâyou know, relax a little? Mary Burger doesn't know about such things. She's 68 and puts the pedal to the metal in the world of. . .wait for it. . .professional rodeo!
Think on that one for a second. Professional rodeo is a rough-and-tumble, very physically demanding sport. This isn't, er, golf. You get on the horse and basically hang on for dear life. And Burger is at the pinnacle of her sportâprofessional barrel racing. She recently won her second world champion title at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. This was a big dealâthe Las Vegas Review-Journal called the event the "Super Bowl of rodeo."
Burger's ability to compete at this level at her age is even more amazing when you consider that as a child, she contracted Perthes disease in her hips, leaving her unable to walk. According to her bio, this prompted her dad to get her a pony and eventually a young horse that she trained for barrel racing. She was able to recover from the disease, and her bio adds that "the riding helped her hips spread and allowed her to heal."
This is the second world title for the Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, native, who also won it in 2006.
"You know, I kept hearing from everyone that I have been an inspiration, and it has meant so much to me,â Burger said on NewsOK. âIt's really all God's plan, and I'm liking his plan. I am so proud.â
The duo of Burger and her horse, Mo, led the Women's Professional Rodeo Association's barrel racing standings for most of the year, and this is just the cherry on top. Since she was tops in the standings going into the finals, she got to wear the prestigious "No. 1"Â in the competition.
âIt was an amazing year,â she said on NewsOK. âOne that is hard to imagine, really, with setting a lot of new records, coming into the finals with the No. 1 back number. Everybody has been so kind. I'm so glad they are proud of me and Mo.â
So are we, Mary! So are we!