CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. — People from near and far converged on the stomping grounds of the 55th Annual Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park on Friday morning.
From as close as southwest of Fairburn and far as New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Missouri, and more.
The Buffalo Roundup gets going first as a silent spectacle from a distance before becoming a thunderous roar across the plains. A roar that will give visitors something to remember.
“When you first start to see the buffalo come down the hill, you’re like, okay this is why we do this,” said Game, Fish and Parks Visitor Services Program Manager, Kobee Stalder.
“It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Diana Saathoff of the Buffalo Roundup Mounted Patrol. “It is just surreal it’s like going back in time and it’s just pure it’s just a pure western experience.”
Over 1,400 bison are parading through the park this year, one of the largest herds in the last decade due to heavy rains over past years, and nearly 500 of them calves.
If everything goes well this winter, we’ll have a little over 1,000 bison, we want to continually grow that herd size and make sure that when people come to Custer State Park, they think bison,” said Stalder.
While the size of the audience was a question mark this year, the roundup must go on regardless.
“It is a critical part of our herd management and how we work and make sure our bison herd is healthy,” Stalder added.
So next up for the bison? Just their annual check ups.