I am seriously beyond excited to share my experience attending the 53rd Annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park in South Dakota!
I wanted to share a little bit about what the heck a buffalo round up is (I asked the same question about 10 times) and wanted to fill you in on what it actually is and the purpose behind it.
The Buffalo Roundup is part of Custer State Park's plan to maintain a healthy balance between the number of bison and the land available for the animals to live, eat, and mate on. The park can only sustain a certain number of bison, based on the condition of the grassland and how much food is available. The Buffalo Roundup also allows for some of the animals to be sorted out of the herd, they are then sold at an auction. They also check the health of the heard, making sure they have the proper vaccinations and check upon the pregnant bison to make sure they are doing a-okay. If you want to read more on the roundup you can check out some information here.
They use a group of 20 cowboys, that are picked from a lottery, to actually handle the bison and herd them into two different areas. Before the roundup started, I had the pleasure of meeting the oldest and longest riding cowboy, Bob Lantis. He is 85 and he has been riding in the roundup for 43 years! He was the sweetest.
After that, we all loaded up in the back of truck beds. I didn’t realize at the time, but this was a once in a lifetime experience. There are about 5 cars out in the actual roundup area, the other thousands of spectators watches from the top of the hills. I felt so lucky. So we set off to go find the bison. The bison were being stubborn at first and the cowboys had a hard time getting them to the proper area to start the roundup. So we waited an hour for them to cooperate.
Once we got the word and the cowboys sped off, we knew it was show time. I honestly had NO idea what to expect. But once we turned the corner and I saw over the mountain that had been blocking the view of the bison, I instantly cried. I had never experienced anything like it in my life. First words out of my mouth were “I AM GOING TO TELL MY CHILDREN ABOUT THIS ONE DAY!!!!” I was so excited. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. My pictures don’t do justice but I hope they can shed some light on how beautiful the experience was.
Couldn’t be more thankful for this trip that was sponsored by South Dakota Tourism. Please please PLEASE if you have a chance or are planning your next adventure, look into South Dakota. I was surprised in the best way and couldn’t have asked for a better trip or experience.