The Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park


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You may have ‘herd’ that the Annual Buffalo Roundup is this week, September 24, 25 and 26, 2015 in Custer State Park. This yearly event is an amazing way to round out your South Dakota summer. Watch cowboys and cowgirls as they roundup and drive the 1,300 plus herd across the sweeping vistas of Custer State Park. 

While offering a spectacular view to spectators of the buffalo that live in Custer State Park, the roundup is a management tool first and a spectator event second. Officials at Custer State Park say the roundup would happen even if no one attended. It is a necessary tool for maintaining a healthy heard.

After the herd is corralled, the park staff sort, vaccinate, brand and check for pregnancies among the buffalo. Some of the buffalo are sold and some are kept and rereleased into the park to maintain the herd population.

While the actual roundup doesn’t begin until Friday morning, there will be festivities throughout the weekend. Thursday marks the beginning of the long weekend, with an art festival. Enjoy the works of more than 150 local and regional artists as you visit the park. 

Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. marks the beginning of the round up with parking lots opening at 6:15 a.m. Starting at 6:15 a.m. a breakfast of pancakes and sausage will be available to attendees for a small cost at both viewing locations. After the actual roundup, the buffalo are typically corraled by 12:30. Vaccinating and branding will begin around 1 p.m. The public is welcome to stay and watch as the herd is vaccinated, branded and sorted for sale. This is an awesome opportunity to learn more about how Custer State Park manages its buffalo herd. Lunch will also be available by the corrals, for a fee.

If you plan on attending the event here are a few things to keep in mind. Remember, this is just another day at work for the parks employees in Custer; the roundup will happen rain or shine! The event is outside and that means weather can play a factor in your comfort. Park officials encourage you to dress for the weather. Dress in layers, bring an umbrella or rain gear if the weather calls for it. You are welcome to bring folding chairs and blankets for your comfort. The viewing area is roped off for the safety of the parks guests. For a better view of the animals you are welcome to bring cameras or binoculars.

Saturday enjoy the Arts Festival and later take part in the Dutch Oven Cook –off.  Sponsored by Cabela's and the Black Hills Dutchers. Dutchers from across the region will compete for points and prizes in this sanctioned international Dutch Oven Society Cook Off. Tasting begins after the dishes have been judged, around 11 a.m. with awards to follow at 3:00 p.m. Tasting donations will go to the KOTA Care and Share Food Drive. Follow this link for more information about the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup.

Remember the Powder House Lodge & Restaurant is a short scenic drive away from Custer State Park. We are offering lodging specials on select rooms during the roundup. Contact us for details! Come as you are after the event and enjoy our one of a kind atmosphere as our experienced staff prepares you any one of our buffalo or wild game entrees. We’d love to see you as you enjoy your time in the Black Hills!


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