OldWestNewWest.com: History & Travel Magazine

Feb 21st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Things to Do Festivals South Dakota’s Annual Buffalo Roundup Offers Glimpse of the Old West

South Dakota’s Annual Buffalo Roundup Offers Glimpse of the Old West

Hits smaller text tool iconmedium text tool iconlarger text tool icon
Nearly 50 years of Old West traditions and cowboy toughness will come together at South Dakota's Custer State Park on Sept. 24, 2012 when the 47th annual Buffalo Roundup thunders across the prairie.

"The Buffalo Roundup is a quintessential example of Old West culture living in today's world," said Matt Snyder, superintendent of Custer State Park. "The work our park staff and volunteer cowboys do is essential to the management of the bison herd, and helps to keep alive a part of our history."

buffalo_roundup_3The Roundup has become a popular event for visitors who want to experience authentic Old West culture.

"Nowhere else in the country can visitors experience an event like this close up," said Jim Hagen, secretary of the Department of Tourism. "Spectators will get a real appreciation for history, as well as the bison, as they see, hear and feel 1,300 of these magnificent animals stampeding over the hills of Custer State Park."

Nearly 14,000 spectators gathered for the Roundup in 2011. Organizers expect a similar turnout this year.

The action begins at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 24, with parking opening at 6:15 a.m. and closing at 9 a.m.

Spectators enjoy free entry to the park, and can purchase a pancake breakfast before the Roundup, as well as a chuck wagon lunch in the corral area following the Roundup action.

The yearly roundup is a continuation of the efforts to preserve and protect buffalo in South Dakota for future generations. A buffalo auction is held each November when 200-225 animals will be sold.

For more information, go to TravelSD.com/Events/Buffalo-Roundup or call the visitor center at (605) 255-4464.

About Custer State Park

Officially established in 1919, Custer State Park is South Dakota's first and largest state park. Its terrain of mountains, hills and prairies provides ideal habitat for a wealth of wildlife, including white-tailed and mule deer, prairie dogs, pronghorn antelope, elk, mountain goats, big horn sheep, and, of course, the park's herd of American Bison.

The bison herd roams freely throughout the park and is often found along the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road in the southern part of the park. Bison seem docile, but can run very fast and turn on a dime. Weighing as much as 2,000 pounds, these animals are forces to be reckoned with. Visitors should stay inside their vehicles when viewing the bison, and not get too close.

In addition to wildlife, the park features several historic sites, including the State Game Lodge, the Badger Hole, the Gordon Stockade, the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center and the Mount Coolidge Fire Tower.

The Black Hills Playhouse, which hosts performances each summer, is also located within the park, as are four resorts, each offering lodging, dining and activities.

The park also has four mountain lakes. These lakes, along with several streams, offer many water recreation and fishing opportunities.

Each year, more than 1.5 million visitors enjoy the numerous and varied activities, attractions and events found year-round within Custer State Park. Custer State Park encompasses 71,000 acres in the Black Hills.

Things to Do