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Rodeo practice becomes deadly for Canadian teenager

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The 16-year-old son of a Turner Valley veterinarian died April 5 after an accident that occurred while he was practicing in rodeo bucking school. He was enrolled in the Thorsby Haymaker Centre, Edmonton.

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Ben Steiger was taking part in a training exercise when his horse threw him. Steiger ended up falling under the horse’s hooves just as the animal threw a kick that hit Steiger with unfortunate timing.

Instructor and long-time rodeo participant Skeeter Thurston told the Edmonton Journal on Sunday that, according to the teen’s father, young Steiger “really loved to rodeo.” Steiger was enrolled in the rodeo school to further his dreams of becoming a future rodeo champion.

Thurston mentioned that the teen raved about Larry Mahan, a well-rounded competitor generally considered top cowboy in bulls and broncos.

It was on Thurston’s watch when Steiger was bucked off, landing under the horse’s front feet. Immediately after being injured, Steiger managed to get up to run a few steps before collapsing. A sports medicine professional rushed to help Steiger and members of the public also rushed to help. Steiger’s father performed CPR on his son over 15 minutes until arrival of the ambulance.

Thurston is attempting to put the sad events of the teenager’s untimely accident and death into some kind of perspective. According to the Edmonton Journal, Thurston said,

I’ve been doing these schools for 20 years ... This is the first tragic accident ... had to witness in a rodeo arena.

A mother of another young and budding rodeo competitor, Cheri Connors, was at the arena during the accident on Saturday. She said she understands the risks involved in rodeo events. She said,

We go in already knowing that anything can happen. It is no different than parents at a hockey game seeing their kids hurt. We just do a different sport.

Alberta’s rodeo community is stunned by the ill-fated accident involving Steiger.

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