Making history: Calgary Stampede celebrates a rodeo icon for International Women’s Day

Today, Wednesday, March 8, 2017 celebrates International Women’s Day, a day that honours the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the globe. The Calgary Stampede has an illustrious history of showcasing the outstanding talent of women in western performances. At a time when women were refused the right to vote, western performance and rodeo stars such as Bertha Blancett and Flores LaDue were achieving success and fame as part of the first Calgary Stampede. For more about the exploits of these pioneer cowgirls, see last year’s blog post for International Women’s Day here.

Through the years, hundreds of women have performed in the Stampede Rodeo, and adding to this proud tradition is Mary Burger, a high-speed barrel-racing grandma from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. For over 40 years Mary has been participating in barrel racing events, winning a slew of titles and victories on her way to being ranked number one in the world in barrel racing. At 67 years young, Mary dropped jaws and wowed fans as she achieved a clean sweep in the barrel racing competition at the 2016 Calgary Stampede.  Placing first in the competition for a remarkable four consecutive days, Mary would go on to win the event on Championship Sunday adding another trophy to what one can only imagine is an already cluttered mantle.

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Mary Burger and her horse Mo picking up some speed!

Concluding the 2016 professional circuit, Mary would make history with an all-time high for regular season earnings at a staggering $190,977. And if you think this crowd-pleasing cowgirl is hanging up her boots anytime soon, you’re sorely mistaken. In her 68th year Mary plans to compete in the professional circuit again! The Stampede is honoured to have such a unique talent like Mary participate in our Rodeo, and we are all looking forward to seeing what this incredibly talented woman has yet to achieve.

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Not even a downpour can stop this dynamic duo.

Our hats are off to Mary Burger and the many, many inspiring women around the world this International Women’s Day.

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Mary Burger takes home the grand prize en route to making barrel-racing history.

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