“Feel the earth tremble.” People told me when I was encouraged to attend the annual Buffalo Roundup. The earth trembled as I felt I was transported to a scene from “Dances with Wolves” as the hooves of 1,200 massive buffalo shook the rolling prairie as they streamed over the hill while herdsmen on horseback spur them over the ridge, down the hill and into corrals for sorting.
The entire Custer State herd galloped by only a few hundred feet from my seat. Can you believe it?! Once the buffalo are safely in the corrals, spectators watch as real-life cowboys sort, brand, test, and treat the herd. Certain animals were selected for the fall auction. This is a public event you can’t experience anywhere else – and attracts more than 17,000 people each year!
Custer State Park is home to one of the largest American bison herds in the world. The annual roundup was started 52 years ago as a way to manage the herd and ensure there’s enough grass for all the animals. This keeps the population in balance with the available land and resources. Most return right back to their home, the grasslands of Custer State Park. Once on the verge of extinction, today there are about 500,000 buffalo across North America.
As if a thundering herd of massive wild animals isn’t enough, an Arts Festival is held the same weekend at the Custer State Game Lodge offering food, entertainment, and art booths for the visitors.
This is a Western experience I’ll never forget and will provide great storytelling to anyone willing to listen. If you’re unable to make it, you can put on your hat and watch these short videos from last year’s roundup in the comfort of your home: 1 minute video https://youtu.be/61xtwlEkngQ the 10 minute video is like you’re there! https://youtu.be/91JoWjpIZS4