You Won’t Want To Miss This Unique South Dakota Event That Only Happens Once A Year
Every fall, Custer State Park holds its annual buffalo roundup, and the public is invited. If you’ve never seen the roundup, make plans to view it this year.
You might want to make plans to visit Custer State Park on Friday, September 29th. If you've never seen the annual Buffalo Roundup, you've been missing out.
Every year, cowboys and cowgirls coax, wrangle and drive around 1,300 buffalo into corrals.
The public is invited to watch the roundup from one of two viewing areas.
The view the roundup, you'll want to arrive at the park between 6:15 AM and 7:00 AM (allow plenty of time for parking). You can walk to one of the viewing areas, or take the free shuttle. The roundup starts at 9:30 AM, and you must stay in the viewing area until all the buffalo are secured in the corrals. The roundup is typically complete around noon.
It's a stunning sight to see and hear 1,300 buffalo thundering across the grassland and down the hill.
You'll want to bring several items with you to best view the roundup. A good pair of binoculars will allow you to get a closeup view as the buffalo first come into sight. You'll definitely want your camera or cell phone to capture the roundup in still shots and video. You might like a folding chair to keep you comfortable while you're waiting for the buffalo to arrive. Finally, bring sunscreen and a hat - there's no shade and it can be a hot, dusty affair.
Every year, 20 volunteer riders are chosen to assist with the roundup.
The park accepts applicants between the first of the year and July 6th. The lucky riders who are chosen undergo an intensive, two-day training. These brave men and women ride through some tough terrain, right up close to the buffalo.
to learn more about the volunteer application process. Maybe you'll be a volunteer rider in 2018!
Once the buffalo are in the corrals, lunch is served at the viewing area.
Lunch is available for a small fee, and is served between noon and 2:00 PM.
Over the following four days, the buffalo are sorted.
Cows are checked for pregnancies, young calves are vaccinated and branded, and around 200 buffalo are culled from the herd to be sold. The buffalo herd at Custer State Park must be carefully managed in order for all animals to remain healthy.
The Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival runs September 28th through the 30th, and includes 150 vendors, live entertainment and food.
Visit the website for more details.
Take a look at this video, posted by South Dakota Tourism on YouTube, that shows some of the highlights of the 2016 roundup:
Have you seen the buffalo roundup in past years? Share your photos with us and tell us about your experience!
If you’re looking for more fall fun in South Dakota,
take our fall foliage road trip!
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