South Dakota

Buffalo Roundup and Buffalo Arts Festival - Custer, South Dakota

South Dakota Tourism

buffalo roundup.jpgBuffalo Roundup and Buffalo Arts Festival - Custer, South Dakota

The way to see if you are truly a cowboy is to join in on the Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park in the fall of every year.  The cowboys, cowgirls and staff from the park saddle up and move approximately 1,500 bison to the buffalo corrals in Custer.  Here they are sorted, branded and given their necessary shots before determining which ones will be released back to the plains and which ones will go on the auction block.

Visitors to the area are welcome to join in by going to one of two viewing areas, one on the north side of the run and one on the south side.  Once you are in the viewing area you will have to stay there until the roundup run is completed because, although the buffalo are beautiful to watch, they are wild animals and therefore can be very, very dangerous.

There is food and vendors of other things available at both viewing locations as well as shuttle buses that will take you over to the corral following the roundup. You can also walk over, but the free shuttle bus is there for your convenience.

The number of bison rounded up depends on several things, primarily the weather.  If it has been a drought year the number of buffalo that will be returned to the plains will be less than if there has been abundant water.  The roundup is the management tool that is used to adjust the herd size accordingly.

There is also an Arts Festival with activities that take place on the Saturday and Sunday of the roundup.  This is prior to the actual Buffalo Roundup which is on Monday.

Artists and craftsman from around the Midwest come to Custer for the roundup to showcase thier works.  There is ongoing WEstern and Native American entertainment for your pleasure.  See the Native Amerian dances or hear the cowboy poets recite their work.

The actual roundup begins at 9:30 a.m. so parking is open in the viewing areas from 6:15 a.m. until 9 a.m.  Bring your folding chairs, cameras, binoculars and wear appropriate clothing for the season and enjoy the experience.

Buffalo Handling: testing, branding and sorting will begin on Monday at 1 and run until 5 and will continue the whole week.

The older bulls are not rounded up because they are too dangerous to handle.

Here are some things to know about the buffalo that you may not be aware of: They a re the largest land mammal in North American; san stand 6 ft at the shoulders and weigh over 2,000 lbs!

They have been closed at speeds of 50 mph.

The paw the ground and raise their tail as a warning when they are angry.

They face straight into the storm, whereas domestic livestock face away.

Buffalo are dangerous and unpredictable so don’t, repeat, do not approach them.


13329 US HWY 16A

CUSTER, SD 57730

Park Headquarters - (605) 255-4515



Read article at South Dakota Tourism

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