Chance Leslie Englebert Scholarship Foundation extends its generosity

Held the last Saturday of each September, the Chance Leslie Englebert Demolition Derby Foundation raises scholarship money to donate to Edgemont graduates to memorialize Chance’s life. Chance’s immediate family is pictured, who help organize the derby each year. Shown from left to right are Emma Englebert, Clay Englebert, Miles Englebert, Linda Kluender, Dawn Englebert, Everett Englebert, Tucker Englebert, and Marya Englebert. 


By Garland Wright 

EDGEMONT – In a heartwarming display of community support, the Chance Leslie Englebert Scholarship Foundation recently expanded its philanthropic reach beyond its traditional scholarship offerings. Known for its annual Chance Leslie Englebert Demolition Derby, which has become a cherished event on the last Saturday of September, the foundation aided graduating seniors of Edgemont High School since 2021 with scholarship funds. However, this year marked a significant shift in their charitable endeavors.

The Chance Leslie Englebert Scholarship Foundation was founded to honor Chance Englebert’s life and legacy. Chance went missing on July 6, 2019, in Gering, Neb., after a misunderstanding with his wife’s family. Chance walked away from the family home, and while town video caught him on surveillance walking an hour later, he has not been seen or heard from since. Chance’s mother, father, siblings and their spouses, and friends helped organize searches that have thus far been unsuccessful in locating Chance. While the family has hired a private investigator and has received assistance from around the world, Chance’s family still searches for him in vain. 

When Chance grandmother passed away recently, in lieu of donating money for flowers, the family requested money be donated to a scholarship fund in his name. Since then, the scholarship fund has continued to grow through the efforts of family and Edgemont locals. The annual demolition derby money supports the scholarship fund and other Fall River charitable community initiatives. 

“It all started a couple of years ago,” explains Marya Englebert. “Clay (Marya’s husband and Chance’s brother) and I sat and thought about what we could do to honor Chance. We really wanted to give a scholarship to help Chance’s school (Edgemont School), which he loved so much, and keep his name in the community. We thought we should do a derby because Chance and our family love to do it together.” After years of pleading, Marya persuaded the family to start the Chance Leslie Englebert Memorial Derby. 

“We can help give back to the community and help improve the fairgrounds and help fund the scholarship,” further explains Marya. The family decided to host the derby with the Fall Festival each year.  All funds derived from the annual derby are donated to charitable initiatives in Fall River County. 

The foundation, buoyed by Marya’s passionate advocacy, took a progressive step by extending donations to three distinct local causes. Drawing from her childhood experiences of food insecurity, Marya was instrumental in broadening the foundation’s scope of assistance.

“There is a lot of lunch debt in our school system, and we (Marya and her siblings) grew up with a lot of lunch debt. When attending Hot Springs school, once your lunch got to a certain point of debt, you would get a piece of bread and cheese in lieu of a hot lunch, and it was humiliating,” explains Marya. “I don’t ever want a child to feel that way.”

Traditionally, the foundation has focused solely on funding scholarships for Edgemont seniors since 2021. However, Marya’s impassioned plea for diversification resonated within the organization, leading to allocating funds to causes beyond the educational realm.

As mentioned, one notable contribution was the foundation’s generosity towards Edgemont School, the cherished alma mater of Marya and Chance. A remarkable donation of $2,200 was made to cover half of the accumulated lunch debt, reflecting the foundation’s commitment to addressing food insecurity issues within its community.

Additionally, the spirit of giving was extended to the holiday season through the foundation’s support of eight angel tree donations, ensuring that Christmas remained a joyful occasion for several families in need within the local area. Since Chance’s disappearance in 2019, the Englebert family has made a tradition of sponsoring Angel Tree wishes in his memory. 

Moreover, the foundation displayed compassion towards a woman in Hot Springs who selflessly took on the responsibility of caring for her niece and nephews. Recognizing the challenges faced by this individual, the foundation stepped in to bring smiles to the children’s faces by providing financial support for purchasing gifts during the holiday season.

The foundation’s generosity reflects a heartwarming commitment to making a tangible difference in the lives of those they seek to serve, emphasizing their dedication to fostering a stronger, more resilient community for years to come. If anyone has any information regarding the disappearance of Chance Leslie Englebert, please get in touch with the Gering Police Department at 308-436-5088. Also, please visit and follow the Help Find Chance Englebert Facebook page and the Chance Leslie Englebert Memorial Demolition Derby Facebook page. 

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
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