Custer Buffalo Roundup glimpses into a time gone
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - This Friday, Sept. 29, visitors at Custer State Park will get a glimpse into the old west with the annual Buffalo Roundup. The Buffalo Roundup happens every year and is an opportunity to sort, vaccinate, and, brand the animals ahead of Custer State Park’s buffalo auction.
Aside from getting the herd in one place, selling a portion of the herd helps to encourage a balanced ecosystem.
“We are a closed system so we’re 71,000 acres and we only have so much range for not only the buffalo but elk, pronghorn, deer, and prairie dogs. All of them use this land and we want to maintain the healthiness of it. So it all factors in and we keep the numbers at the right level to make sure that we’re maintaining healthy grasslands,” said Lydia Austin, the Visitor Services Supervisor for Custer State Park.
Custer’s roundup is more unique than ones that happen elsewhere because of the way it is conducted. Today many herd roundups will use a helicopter to assist with the job, but here at Custer State Park officials will herd the animals the traditional way, from horseback.
“This is the only place in the world that I’m aware of where you can watch horseback riders chase buffalo into a corral system and we have people from all over the world that come to see it just for that nostalgia and a chance to look into the old west,” said Jim Straight, the district park supervisor with South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks.
Straight says this event is a good way to honor the history of the roundup.
“It lets people see the way it’s been done forever, it allows people to watch the horseback riders bring the buffalo in and it’s a lot more nostalgic than watching a helicopter chase buffalo,” said Straight.
For those who want to see more of these buffalo you can count on coverage from KOTA Territory News this Friday at the Buffalo Roundup, if you want to see them in person make sure to check them out at Custer State Park. The event will start at 9:30 a.m. this Friday but parking will open up at 6:30 a.m. for those looking to save a spot.
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