The brother of an Alberta teenager who died in a rodeo accident wants his legacy to grow


Chase Steiger of Hinton wants more students to have the chance to apply for a memorial scholarship in his brother's name

A deceased southern Alberta teenager's legacy lives on and his brother wants it to grow.

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

“He was the type of kid that helped everyone,” said Chase Steiger, Ben’s brother, who now lives in Hinton. “It didn’t just help us be the most popular. He was the boy who didn’t care who you were, it was the kind of person you were.”

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

Chase is pleased with the impact the scholarship in honor of his brother has had.

“What we’re aiming for is not necessarily the smartest student,” he said. “It was more aimed at students who have made a difference in other people’s lives.

“You know, this boy who came to school, helped out and was a good student. Everything, not necessarily just the most academic stuff.”

He hopes the scholarship, which is available in southern Alberta with a focus on the Foothills, will continue to expand across the province.

“We’re trying to spread it out a little bit more,” Chase said. “We want to help the students who need help, so this year we are all working together within the family to try to expand this to northern Alberta.”

Chase hopes this will allow his brother's legacy to have an even greater impact beyond the foothills.

“It keeps his name alive,” Chase said. “You know, these students who got the scholarship either knew about him or knew about the incident, so it just helps keep that name alive.”

“It changes a student’s life when they get that kind of money. As a student, this money, you can now afford a computer, you can afford some of your books. You can take a little stress out of it and that will keep it.” The name came to life because they thought it was Ben who helped them do it.

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

“[Recipients] They will receive a four-year scholarship of $1,500 for each year of four years of training they complete,” said Dr. Wayne Steiger, Ben's father. “We now give $12,000 every year.”

“We're just trying to help kids who have a good attitude, want to go to school and maybe struggle financially a little bit. That's why we try to focus not only on the best, but also on children who want to go to school.”

The scholarship will be awarded at the end of the school year and applications are still being accepted.

“Students can apply for this scholarship through the scholarship [Foothills School District]said Wayne. “You have to get an application from them and that is usually submitted in June.

“We normally collect all applications around mid-May. We usually get about 20 applications and select one boy and one girl each year.”

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

“It’s open to any type of education,” Wayne said. “It doesn’t have to be a university. It could be a hairdressing course or a sewing course or any type of training that doesn’t necessarily have to last four years.”

“So we have some additional places where we can support kids who might just be doing a short-term job.”

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