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Barrel Racer Still Going Strong At 81

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Barrel racer [stock photo]

Back in 1964, Ardith Bruce was the World Women’s Barrel Racing Champion.

She’s now 81 years young, but is still the ultimate competitor, still competing even though arthritis makes it harder for her to climb aboard. And she still hurls her horse around the barrels at breathtaking speed and flies across the dirt for home.

Here is her fascinating story:

The cowgirl in tennies, stretch jeans and western shirt is racing hell-bent for leather across the arena in Fountain atop a half-ton horse named Itchy.

They round the barrels heartstop close, then fly across the dirt for home.

And this is just practice.

If you think about the rider’s age, you might get a few butterflies. But like a car crash, you can’t look away.

Don’t worry, this 81-year-old barrel racer is Ardith Bruce, the 1964 world champion. She still sits deep in the saddle and competes even when arthritis makes it a chore to fling her leg over the cantle.

Lucky Ekberg, a long-time friend and president of Fountain Valley Riding and Roping Club sums up Bruce best:

“Her mind has a built-in racing stopwatch and her heart is full of horsehair. Watching her ride takes your breath away.”

Just recently, she came in about 28th out of 140 men and women barrel racers competing at Norris Penrose stadium. She was probably the only one over 65.

“I like to say I came in first — in the 80-year-old category,” she laughs.  [Story continues here]

[Source:  Gazette.com]

You gotta give it to her – she’s a legend!


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