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Family of Southern Alberta teen killed in rodeo accident wants to expand scholarship

Ben Steiger was killed 10 years ago in a tragic accident and now his family wants a memorial scholarship in his name to reach more Alberta students.
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Ben Steiger, the scholarship's namesake, was 16 years old when he died during a rodeo accident in Thorsby on April 5, 2014.

The legacy of a late Turner Valley teen lives on.

The Ben Steiger Memorial Scholarship aims to help students succeed through post-secondary education.

"He was the kind of kid that helped everybody," said Chase Steiger, Ben's brother. "He wasn't just helping to be the most popular. He was the kid that it didn't matter who you were, it was the kind of person that you were."

Ben was 16 years old when he died during a bronc riding accident at the Thorsby Haymaker Center on April 5, 2014.

Ten years after the tragedy, the scholarship has continued to make a difference in the community.

"[Recipients] get a four-year scholarship of $1,500 for each year of the four years of whatever education they're taking," said Dr. Wayne Steiger, Ben's father. "We give $12,000 every year now.

"We're just trying to help kids that have a good attitude, want to go to school and maybe finances are a little difficult for them, so we try to focus on not just the highest grades, but kids that want to go to school."

The scholarship is given out at the end of the school year, and applications are still being accepted. 

"Students can apply for this scholarship through the [Foothills School District]," said Wayne. "They need to get an application from them, and it's usually given in June.

"So usually, sometime around the middle of May is when we collect all the applications. We usually get about 20, and we choose one boy and one girl each year."

According to the Steiger family, the scholarship reflects Ben's desire to help everybody, no matter who they are or what they are doing.

"It's open for any kind of education," said Wayne. "It doesn't have to be university. It can be a hairdresser course or sewing course or any kind of education that doesn't have to be for four years.

"So we have some extra spots that we can help support kids that are maybe just doing a shorter term thing."

The scholarship has supported over 50 students in various fields over the last 10 years.

Chase is happy with the impact the scholarship in honour of his brother has had.

​"What we're going for is not necessarily the brightest student," he said. "It was more directed to students that did change other people's lives.

"You know, that kid that came to school and helped out and was a good student. All the things, not necessarily just the most academic."

He hopes to see the scholarship, which is available in southern Alberta with a focus on the Foothills, expand further throughout the province.

"We're trying to get it a little more widespread," said Chase, who is currently based in Hinton. "We want to help the students that need the help, so this year we're working together, all of us within the family, to try and spread that out to northern Alberta."

Chase hopes that, by doing so, his brother's legacy can make an even larger impact beyond the Foothills.

"It keeps his name alive," said Chase. "You know, these students, the ones that have gotten the scholarship, either knew of him or knew of the incident, so it just helps to to keep that name alive and going.

"It changes a student's life when they get that much money. As a student, that money, now you can afford a computer, you can afford some of your books. You can take a little bit of stress off of that and that keeps his name alive by them thinking that it was Ben that helped them do it."



Amir Said

About the Author: Amir Said

Amir Said is a reporter and photographer with the Western Wheel covering local news in Okotoks and Foothills County. For story tips, reach out to [email protected].
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