Here is the story of the Big T Open and the legacy of a man named Todd Siebert. Big T as he was called by everyone who knew him, or T for short. Big T stood 6’7 at his tallest and was well over 250lbs, so yeah he was a big guy. He grew up very young on his family farm in Batesville, IN. His uncle was tragically killed when a silo collapsed on him when he was only 9, and thus started T’s legacy of always helping. At this point, it was only his grandpa John to run the farm and there was just too much work for 1 person, and so Big T started going to the farm every day and tending to the hogs and taking care of the daily chores to help his family for the next 40 years.
Big T was a lot of things throughout his life, a husband to Tina, father to Stacey and Mikayla, grandpa to Matthew, Conner, Wyatt, Maci and Madison, a son, a brother, an uncle, a farmer and a friend to everyone he met. And of course, a bourbon lover. He was a man of faith, a giver to his community and to his church. He was always there for people when they needed him. T was always the guy folks would ask for just about anything. Big T firmly believed that you have to give to receive and so he always helped when he could. “Til your better paid” is what he would say, truly believing that there was some other form of payment coming his way.
Unfortunately for T he was diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – a disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord … Lou Gehrig’s disease as some people have come to know it. When we read about what to expect with the diagnosis or how to support someone with ALS it was extremely scary, and honestly looking back, worse. ALS is currently incurable, and affects almost 20,000 people annually, with a life expectancy of only 2 to 5 years. ALS will take every ability you have to function as a human away from you, except your mind. ALS is a relatively rare disease, and not understood by most people. As a result, the ALS association needs the support of the community to help raise funds. These funds go to support research as well as care for individuals who suffer from the disease.
Big T passed away May 20th, 2021 around 7:00pm surrounded by family and friends, and that was when the work started. T never wanted to do anything in particular while he was alive, as he didn’t want to draw attention to himself. That did not stop us from paying tribute and celebrating the life of Big T after he was gone. We decided to put on a golf outing, and The Big T Open was formed.
We wanted to do 2 things as a committee. One, raise money and awareness for ALS and the struggles that families go through in dealing with the disease. Secondly, celebrate the life of such a great person in the community. Little did we know what this was going to turn into. We didn’t set a goal for donations as we didn’t know what to expect. We live in a small community; Batesville has a current population a little over 6,500 people. We partnered with the ALS Association of Indiana, who Tina (T’s wife) had gotten various forms of support over the past years.