Proudly sporting the Number 1 back number at the Wrangler National Finals this year is none other than the Queen B, Mary Burger. After winning a grand total of $190,976.59 after 64 rodeos, Burger will be the third barrel racer to wear the Number 1 during the W.N.F.R, the others being Charmayne James with Scamper & Sherry Cervi on Troubles.
Hailing from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, Burger won Houston Rodeo for $50,000, four rounds at the Calgary Stampede $5,000 each, won the final round of Calgary for $100,000, 2nd at Ogden for $4,160.06, $4,436 out of Cheyenne, WY, $2,573.34 in Red Lodge, MT, $3,244.12 from Belle Fourche, SD, and placing at many more.
During the Calgary Stampede, the crowd would go wild when Burger & Mo came charging into the arena. The energy was electric which left rodeo fans on their feet, and barrel racing fans with tears of joy in their eyes as they watched Burger in awe. At 68 years old she showed us that with grit and determination you can accomplish anything at any age. The pair was all anyone could talk about; next to the mud and monsoon conditions of course.
For many years, training futurity horses was Mary’s main focus. 2006 is the first year that she took rodeo seriously; she ended up winning the world, taking home $78,558 during the W.N.F.R aboard Rare Fred. This year she ran SadiesFamousLastWords aka MO, a big beautiful buckskin gelding who she has trained since he was 2.
Does Mo have any quirks?
He has that absolutely lovable disposition. He loves life but is a very playful guy. I call it immature. He has been slow to develop in that category. He showed his talent through his futurity an derby year.
How would you describe Mo’s style?
He has his own style of running. I never try to change a winning style as that’s just him. He runs with his nose out an rolls his turns that way.
What are your favorite bloodlines for barrel racing?
Mo is by Sadies Frosty Drift by Frenchmans Guy and a AAA mare, Porky And Bess, who is by Dash Ta Fame. Bred an raised by Kristie Thortenson. I really do like those bloodlines as they are proven winners.
With all the miles made, varying ground conditions, and expenses, what kept the NFR dream alive for you?
Being a NFR World Champion has been a dream come true. Especially for the first year out there.
Although 2016 was just suppose to be a “have fun with my horse year”, it proved to be one of the best years of my career.
We all know that being competitive takes mental strength. What do you do to keep a sharp mental edge in the game of rodeo? Do you do anything before a run to keep your nerves in check?
I have always been focused on simply making each run I make a focused run. Don’t care who is or isn’t present. Therefore I trained myself to block all tensions out.
What is your go to product or therapy for keeping your horse sound for the season?
After 5 years of going down the road, I decided that many rodeos was over for me. If I was to make the finals again it was going to be much less rodeos. Now days, at least the cost of fuel etc.has come down but the miles is what wears a horse out. Picking rodeos an not traveling all over the country is on my agenda. I keep a check on health with my sponsor vet Charlie Buchanan at BVEH and special sponsors with herbal remedies and non drug products to keep his body healthy. Oxygen, LubriSyn, Simply Equine, Blue Bonnet Feeds and comfort fitting tack from Professional Choice.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given regarding barrel racing?
I am my own person so I haven’t ever had an inspiration from any one. I’ve set my own standards an just try to be true to myself an trust in God, whether it’s good or bad.
What would you like to see be done in the industry to better rodeo as a sport?
I would like to see a limit of 75 rodeos a year to help stop the multiple rigs on the road. It would put a little bit of limit on the money game played these days and protect the welfare of the horse.
I have been blessed with a wonderful career with horses an thank God an my family for all my success.
Photos submitted by Mary Burger*