Burger Sweeps Pool A in Calgary – Article and photo by Deanna Kristensen
After the fourth and final go-round of Pool A’s competition at Calgary, the 2006 World Champion Barrel Racer Mary Burger, of Pauls Valley, Okla., capped off an epic winning streak, – claiming all four top $5,500 go-rounds checks.
“I’m kinda speechless,” said Burger. “I’m so grateful. I came here to win some money, but I wasn’t expecting this!”
A decade ago, Burger was the oldest woman to ever win a WPRA world title. Since then, it seemed like she had slowed down in the competitive world of professional rodeo. However, at 67-years-old, she is back – fiercer than ever – and blazing her way into the Stampede history books.
In 2016, Burger has catapulted her name to the top of the world leaderboard, with her flashy 7-year-old buckskin gelding, SadieFamousLastWords a.k.a. “Mo” (Sadies Frosty Drift x Porky And Bess). The team qualified for Calgary through RodeoHouston, where they pocketed $54,750 and Burger claimed her second championship title, from the NRG Stadium. As the Oklahoma cowgirl rolled into Cowtown for the Stampede, she was already leading the WPRA standings (by over $30,000), and surprisingly her golden streak was not about to run dry.
Despite Calgary’s notoriously challenging conditions, Burger managed to lay it all on the line and fearlessly beat-out the competition in each go-round. Even on opening day, when the 2014 World Champion Fallon Taylor and Babyflo, took a no-time on their run –following a tragic slip on the second barrel. Burger said Fallon’s run didn’t cripple her confidence much and she entered the arena, determined that Mo could handle any challenge ahead.
“My horse is pretty-good at standing up, but you never know. The basic thing is to not slip and slide around.”
Thankfully, Burger said Mo has proven himself on tough ground at past rodeos, and she knew Mo was ready for the tough ground at Calgary.
“I just try to not fret about it. Mo’s is pretty sure footed and his style helps him.“
On Day 1, Burger sailed to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 17.46 seconds. Throughout all four go-rounds, Burger maintained her lead in the first Pool of contestants. And in the fourth and final go-round, Burger shaved her time down to 17.33 seconds – which capped-off the pool, and gave her a cool total of $22,000 to put towards her name in the WPRA standings.
After Monday’s go-round, Burger and her fellow top four contestants from Pool A, advance into Showdown Sunday, for their chance at the $100,000 grand prize. Contestants, who haven’t qualified for Sunday, receive a second chance to run for the big payout, on Wild Card Saturday.
Pool A Results:
1. Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, OK, $22,000
2. Ivy Conrado, Hudson, CO, $13,000
3. Kelly Schnaufer, Pueblo, CO, $10,500 Jessie
4. Taylor Jacob, Carmine, TX, $8,000 Madonna
5. Julie Leggett, Kamloops, BC, $6,000
6. Mary Walker, Ennis TX, $4,000
7. Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, GA, $2,500
8. Fallon Taylor, Collinsville, TX, $2,500
9. Cassidy Kruse, Gillette, WY, $1,500
10. Megan Swint, Lithia, FL, $0
Pool B Competitors:
Jackie Ganter, Abilene, TX
Vickie Carter, Richfield, UT
Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD
Callahan Crossley, Hermiston, OR
Kimmie Wall, Roosevelt, UT
Cayla Melby, Burneyville, OK
Deb Guelly, Okotoks, AB
Brittney Paige Willis, Bristol, FL
Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, TX
Nancy Csabay, Taber, AB