Mary Burger

A barrel racer for five decades and with 11 World Championships over that time, Burger is a trailblazer with longevity. At a young age, she was diagnosed with Perthes Disease, which is a painful and debilitating illness that causes inflammation and arthritic-like symptoms in the hip sockets. Her father had her ride horses to ease her mobility and help exercise her hips. As she began to heal, her love for horses only grew. Fast forward to 1974, she won the inaugural AQHA World Champion Junior Barrel Racing title and the inaugural World Champion Junior Pole Bending title. One of the earliest world champions in the field, Burger went on to set the record as the oldest barrel racer to win a world title at the age of 58. She set another as the oldest WPRA and PRCA NFR qualifier at the age of 68 in 2016. Burger wore the coveted No. 1 back number in Las Vegas that year, an honor reserved for the Wrangler NFR contestant who wins the most money during the regular season. It’s only the third time a woman has achieved that feat, following Charmayne James and Sherri Cervi.

2017 Cowgirl Honoree – California