Michael Hopkins, co-owner of the Buckhorn Bar and Parlor in downtown Laramie, has died following a car crash north of Medicine Bow.
He was one of two people killed in the crash that took place around noon Saturday on Wyoming Highway 487, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Amid the community’s sadness and shock of Hopkins’ sudden passing, the Buckhorn will keep its tradition of being open every day, manager Buck Ward told the Boomerang on Tuesday.
“Mike would’ve wanted it that way,” Ward said.
Hopkins, 69, was driving a 2004 Ford Ranger north on the highway when the vehicle entered the southbound lane, colliding head-on with a 2014 Subaru Forester. The Subaru’s driver, 57-year old Casper resident Jonathan Schmidt, also died from injuries sustained in the crash.
A 9-year-old male riding with Hopkins was transported to Wyoming Medical Center after the crash. The passenger in the Subaru, 55-year-old Jeaneece Schmidt, was also transported to Wyoming Medical Center. No further details about any injuries sustained were available.
All four people involved in the crash were wearing their seatbelts.
The WHP is investigating driver fatigue on the part of Hopkins as a contributing factor in the crash, according to the WHP.
Billed as the “World Famous Buckhorn Bar,” the establishment has been open in Laramie since 1900, according to its website. Open every day of the year, it still serves as a popular venue for live music, dancing and is a hub for party-goers at many of downtown’s most popular celebratory times.
A family business, Hopkins co-owned the bar with his brother, Gary Hopkins, after it was owned and operated by their parents. Plans for a service and wake are still being scheduled, according to the Buckhorn’s social media accounts.
This was the 48th and 49th fatality on Wyoming’s highways in 2019, compared to 25 this time last year according to the WHP.