3 Ways to Experience the Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park

Buffalo RoundupEvery year in South Dakota’s Custer State Park there is a 3 day festival of arts that kicks off with a buffalo roundup. The buffalo are rounded up each year and thinned to maintain a strong and healthy herd. The roundup itself is only a few hours of the first morning of the festival, but getting to witness over 1,000 prehistoric beasts running cross the plains and feel the vibrations of their thundering hooves shake you to your core is a site you must behold for yourself. Among other events, activities, and arts and crafts to browse through, the 2nd day each year holds a famous dutch oven cooking contest, and a chili cook off on the third. There are 3 great ways to experience the annual buffalo roundup in Custer State Park: on foot, by bus, and by horseback.Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

The viewing areas open at 6:15am the day of the roundup. Park your car and bring your folding chair to stake out a spot to watch the thundering herd come over the hills and get sorted for sale or re-release by the park staff in the corrals. Breakfast of pancakes and sausage is available for a fee, so don’t worry about getting up any earlier to get breakfast in your belly. Stick around after the round up for the art shows and other events.

For a more comprehensive South Dakota experience, hop on with a bus tour with http://www.buffaloroundup.com. They offer viewing of the roundup and sorting, lunch afterwards, and a tour that continues on to Crazy Horse Mountain, Mount Rushmore, and an evening ending with dinner by a campfire complete with cowboy entertainment. Buffalo Round UpAll in all, a bus tour sounds like a great way to spend the day, especially with a price tag of only $98 – including lunch and dinner!

Lastly, for the more experienced and time committed buffalo enthusiast, bring your own horse along a few days in advance and help gather the buffalo from all over the park into the pre-roundup holding area. Make sure to bring a steed that can handle a fast clip over extremely challenging terrain. The fields look soft and grassy, but that lush grass is growing out practically straight out of the rocks, cleverly disguising a miserable terrain for un-tested steeds. Buffalo don’t move at a slow pace when being rounded up like cattle do. They have 2 speeds – stop, and run. Be prepared to leap over ditches and dodge a charging buffalo at a fast canter. Riding for the main roundup day is by invitation only, so some early to join in the fun and get to see more of the park by horseback.

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