Excitement builds for 45th annual Buffalo Roundup

The 45th annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park is Sept. 27. (Photo courtesy of South Dakota Tourism)

From the state Office of Tourism:

PIERRE, S.D. – From five spared animals that once were nearly extinct to a substantial 1,300 head today, the collection of buffalo at Custer State Park has swelled to one of the largest publicly-owned herds in the world.
Gov. Mike Rounds invites you to catch a glimpse of those majestic beasts at the 45th Annual Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park on Sept. 27.
Thousands of spectators gather each year for the weekend’s events, which include an organized stampede of buffalo and an arts festival. The roundup of the free-roaming herd for branding and vaccination begins at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 27. Parking begins at 6:15 a.m. and closes at 9 a.m. The arts festival, featuring Western and Native American entertainment, artwork and South Dakota-made products, is Sept. 25-27 near the State Game Lodge in CusterState Park.
“Watching buffalo in their native habitat is an unparalleled experience. From the arts festival to the roundup itself, visitors and spectators will enjoy the unique opportunity to celebrate a unique part of South Dakota’s heritage,” said Richard Benda, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development.
Benda said the Buffalo Roundup is an important reminder of South Dakota’s role in preserving buffalo.
Standing six feet tall, running at speeds of more than 40 miles an hour and weighing nearly 2,000 pounds, buffalo once filled the unsettled plains of South Dakota. In the early 1800s, an estimated 60 million bison roamed North America’s prairies, but only a handful remained by the close of the century.
Two South Dakota ranchers are credited with helping save the species. Fredrick Dupree spared five buffalo from a hunt in 1881; over the next decade, he built a small herd. Dupree sold the animals to FortPierre rancher “Scotty” Philip, and the herd grew to more than 1,000 head. Several of Philip’s buffalo became the foundation of the CusterState Park herd.
The Buffalo Roundup is not only an entertaining event for spectators, but is also important for the health of the buffalo and grasslands of CusterState park.
“Testing, branding and vaccinating the herd each year is essential to maintaining a strong and healthy herd for the future,” said Craig Pugsley, visitor services coordinator at CusterState Park. “Managing the size of the herd also ensures that we do not overgraze the grasslands in the park.” 

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.


  1. cobina
    cobina 16 September, 2011, 11:59

    is the round up televised on tv, not just local

    Reply this comment

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