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Buffalo Roundup, Arts Festival at Custer State Park this weekend

The organizers of the Buffalo roundup on September 25th and Arts Festival September 24-26th have tips on what you can do to make the most of the experience.
The organizers of the Buffalo roundup on September 25th and Arts Festival September 24-26th have tips on what you can do to make the most of the experience.(South Dakota Department of Tourism)
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 9:32 PM CDT
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CUSTER COUNTY, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

If you’re thinking of a getaway to the Black Hills, this weekend may be the time to do it. The organizers of the Buffalo roundup on September 25th and Arts Festival September 24-26th have tips on what you can do to make the most of the experience.

“The spectacle of seeing 1,500 bison crest a hill and come right towards you I mean it’s really like you step back in time and you’re back in the frontier days,” said Stalder.

The 55th Annual Buffalo roundup is something to behold. Many make the pilgrimage every year. Kobee Stalder is the Visitor Services Program Manager. If the weather is colder, the herd runs faster.

“You’re gonna feel and you’re gonna hear the sound of us pushing. You’re gonna hear the cracks of the whips, that whooping and hollering from the horseback riders to push the animals,” said Stalder.

Of the 40 roundup riders, twenty were pre-selected from a lottery to bring their horse and be fully immersed in the experience.

“This year we have 1,450 bison that will be rounding up,” said Stalder.

And they do it for a purpose.

“Overall health inspection. We pregnancy test all the cows to see if they’re carrying a calf this year. And yeah, any kind of inoculations or antibiotics that the animals need we also provide,” said Stalder.

Protecting the herd and the land is important.

“We can only overwinter about 1000 animals. Just because of our rangelands, we don’t want to overgraze our rangelands and we care for. Not only bison but the rest of the wildlife that we have,” said Stalder.

Over 400 will be selected for auction, the others return to the land.

“A portion of the park is 60,000 acres and they’re free-roaming, so once we decide which animals we keep in the park, we just let them back out loose and then they can go wherever they want,” said Stalder.

The entertainment all weekend at Custer state park encircles the roundup event. Lydia Austin is the Interpreter program manager.

“Good music beer tents, food, and then a whole bunch of just different style vendors out there,” said Austin.

They hope to have a hot air balloon launch on Friday, weather permitting.

There’s a lot to take in under a wide-open South Dakota sky. Make sure to bring weather-appropriate clothing and a lawn chair. Although food vendors will be on-site at both events, bringing your food and water is also permitted. They advise arriving early. Although the roundup starts at 9:30 AM, parking opens at 6:15 AM, to allow for the time it takes on narrow roads for everyone to arrive.

More events are taking place in the Black Hills this weekend, including the Volksmarch hike at the Crazy Horse Monument.

“Settle in and get ready for one unique event, a feel to what South Dakota is all about,” said Stalder.

If people are unable to make the event in person, the roundup can be viewed online here.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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