Former U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, a longtime champion for bison producers, died Monday
after sustaining serious injuries in a recent bicycle accident near his home in Gillette, Wyoming.

Enzi, who was 77, “passed away peacefully” while surrounded by his family, a statement read. “His family expresses their deep appreciation for all of the prayers, support and concern. They now ask for privacy and continued prayers during this difficult time.”

Enzi’s family said he was admitted to UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado. He was unconscious and unable to recover from his injuries, which included a broken neck and ribs, the family said.

Enzi fell near his home about 8:30 p.m. Friday, a family friend said, around the time Gillette police received a report of a man lying unresponsive in a road near a bike.

Enzi, a Republican, led the drive in the early 2000s to have the U.S. Mint issue a limited-edition Buffalo Nickel in commemoration of the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Voyage of Discovery. When the coin was officially issued in February 2005, Enzi helped preside over a Capitol Hill ceremony that featured Cody the Buffalo from Dances with Wolves.

He was also the original sponsor of the annual Senate resolution designating the first Saturday in November as National Bison Day and was an original co-sponsor of the Bison Legacy Act, which resulted in bison being designated as the National Mammal of the United States in 2016.

He was honored in 2010 with the National Bison Association’s first-ever Friend of the Buffalo Award. The plaque presented to Enzi at the 2010 Winter Conference honored the Senator, “For His Leadership and Commitment to the Stewardship of a Species, The Success of our Producers, And the Integrity of our Products.”

John Flocchini, former NBA president and Wyoming bison rancher, noted, “Senator Enzi was a strong and consistent ally of the NBA, and everyone in our business. He was always available to meet with our annual delegation in Washington, D.C. and eager to support our legislative priorities.

“Having known him personally for many years, he was a genuinely good man, and was committed to bipartisan cooperation throughout his time in the Senate.”

Enzi, a Republican, retired in January after four terms as Senator. He previously was a state lawmaker and mayor of Gillette, where he owned a shoe store.
NBA Weekly Update, Aug 6, 2021.

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

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