The seventh annual Bandit Run, a rolling car show honoring the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, will be making a stop in Laramie as participants trek across Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado.

The Bandit Run began in 2007 in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Smokey and the Bandit.  The event was started by Dave Hall, owner of the Lincoln, Nebraska's Restore A Muscle Car LLC.  "We restore classic muscle cars," says Hall.  "The Trans-Ams are one of our specialties.  The Smokey and the Bandit black and gold Trans-Ams have been a major forte for us."

Hall says that while sitting down to a meal with a customer the idea was floated of making a run from Texarkana, TX to Atlanta Georgia, effectively recreating the journey made by the characters in the movie.  "We started letting people know that we were going to do this, and if they wanted to join us, just show up," Hall says.  "It's turned into an annual event, every year I change the route to see different parts of the country."

In the film Burt Reynolds plays The Bandit, who must help escort his friend Snowman, played by Jerry Reed, and a truck full of Coors beer across the Texas border into Atlanta.  At the time Coors beer was illegal in that state.  During the journey Bandit is pursued by a highway patrol officer Buford T. Justice (dubbed "Smokey"), played by Jackie Gleeson.

The event kicks off at the Restore A Muscle Car home base in Lincoln, Nebraska, where participants will have the chance to hear from and meet Smokey and the Bandit writer, director and stuntman Hal Needham.

The Bandit Run will then take participants  through Nebraska, up to South Dakota, into Wyoming and will make a stop here in Laramie.  The Bandit Runners will touch down in the Gem City on June 17th where they will be able to tour the facilities at WyoTech.

"One of the reasons we wanted to migrate to Laramie is I get a lot of technicians out of Wyo Tech," says Hall.

The 75-90 cars participating in the Bandit Run (including 30 Bandit replicas and 2 police cars) will receive an escort from the Laramie Police Department from Wyo Tech to the Laramie Holiday Inn.  Expected to arrive at 7:30 pm, the Holiday Inn of Laramie will then play host to a block party.  Dr. Pepper products and Coors Beer will be served, and Smokey and the Bandit will be screened in the hotel's ballroom.  Also a live band, Have Fun Will Travel will play at 7:30.  The Laramie stop of the Bandit Run is being handled in conjunction with the Albany County Tourism Board.

The block party is open to not only the Bandit Runners but also the public at large.

The Holiday Inn will also host a lookalike contest in the following categories:

  • Burt Reynolds as Bo Darville/Bandit
  • Sally Field as Carrie/Frog
  • Jerry Reed as Cledus Snow/Snowman
  • Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice/Smokey
  • Pat McCormick as Enos Burdette/Big Enos
  • Paul Williams as "Little" Enos Burdette
  • Fred (Basset Hound)

After their overnight in Laramie, the Bandit Runners will continue to Golden Colorado where they will tour the Coors Brewery.

As an added bonus, as the Runners are rolling into town our own David Settle will be hosting Sportsline Live from Laramie's Holiday Inn at 5:00 pm on 1230 AM KOWB.

Runners are tentatively expected to arrive in Laramie at 5:00 pm July 17th.  The block party which is, once again, open to the public is scheduled for 7:30 pm at Laramie's Holiday Inn that same day.