On the 55th Annual Buffalo Roundup over 20,512 visitors watched this year while 1,400 head of buffalo headed toward the corrals at Custer State Park. Photo courtesy of Custer State Park.

Thousands on Hand for Annual Buffalo Roundup Sep 24-26

CUSTER, S.D. – Over 20,512 visitors attended the 55th Annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park on Friday morning, Sept. 25, 2020, watching as 60 horseback riders wrangled the herd of 1,400 bison into the corrals for their annual health check.

“It was another perfect Buffalo Roundup weekend in Custer State Park,” said park superintendent Matt Snyder.

“We had three great days of weather, a hot air balloon night glow for the first time ever at the Arts Festival, and we were able to livestream the Roundup to over 100,000 people who could not be here in person to view it.

“All of our bison and riders made it to the corrals safely, so in our eyes the event was a huge success.”

Not only is the roundup a spectacular sight to see, it is also a critical management tool in maintaining a strong and healthy herd.

Visitors dig in at Roundup in two viewing areas starting at 6 am on this hill and the opposite slope, while buffalo are brought around and up the creek. Guests must stay in the viewing areas until the herd is safely in, around noon. Breakfast is available in both viewing areas and a buffalo picnic lunch is sold at the corrals once the buffalo are rounded up. Photo FM Berg.

Custer State Park also hosted its three-day arts festival in conjunction with the Buffalo Roundup. Crowds assembled throughout the celebration to enjoy a variety of entertainment under the big top, educational programs and vendors from all over the country.

Looking two years ahead, Buffalo Roundups will be held on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, and Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

 Custer State Park’s Annual Bison Sale Nov 7

Approximately 400 bison that were sorted at the September Roundup will be sold at the park’s annual auction on Saturday Nov. 7 at 10:00 am Mountain Time, according to Kobee Stalder, Visitor Services Program Manager.

Buyers and spectators from around the United States come to watch and participate in the annual auction. Buffalo are generally purchased to supplement an existing herd, to start a new herd, or to eat. 

The auction will be at the Custer State Park Visitor Center just off Highway 16A, in-person and on the internet. The link will be set up and for the online portion visitors can go to www.custerstatepark.com for more information, or contact the park at 605.255.4515 or email CusterStatePark@state.sd.us.

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

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