When thinking about this event, it is a must-see especially because all the locals have been talking about this event all summer long. When you first talk to people about this event, their eyes light up and they smile and laugh when they all explain this event because their stories are always full of excitement. When you drive around Custer State Park in mid-April to May it is prime mating season. If you can come back over the summer and you get to see the calves grow it is amazing the attachment you get to these beautiful creatures.
I first experienced this event three years ago. I took off work and came drove down to Custer with two friends. We arrived a little past 7:00 am and there were already cars everywhere. We jumped in line for breakfast and goodness that meal with delicious and everyone was just as excited as we were to be there. We talked to some locals that have come for the past 25 years and many others who told us this was their first year. At around 9:00 am, we went and found our spot and grabbed out the binoculars. You would think we were young kids going to Disney World for the first time we were so excited.
When the roundup began, we watched the cowboys and cowgirls ride with so much grace and talent. The buffalo were beautiful and it was amazing to see how many there were. You would look off into the distance and see a sea of brown movement. Buffalo are beautiful and wild creatures – and as for me, the animal lover, I just wanted to bring one home. I cannot wait until this coming Friday. I have not been back for three years but this is an event that I cannot wait to enjoy over and over again and I cannot wait to bring my children one day.
For the past 53 years, many join together to work hard and celebrate the beautiful bison that roam the 71,000-acre park. Custer State Park is the home of one of the largest herds in the world. People from far and wide travel from all across the country in addition to many locals make this a yearly tradition. The roundup is done annually so that the head stays healthy for years to come. This is a must-see for all ages and something to add to your bucket list.
Here are some tips for the upcoming roundup –
- Make sure to check the weather! South Dakota weather is unpredictable. The weather is predicted to range in the 50's and 60’s with a chance of rain. Make sure to bring rain gear, warm clothes, and pack the sunscreen and hand warmers just in case. The temperature can change greatly from 6:30 am to 11:30 am.
- Other keys items are chairs, binoculars, snacks and don’t forget your camera!
- Important Times – On Friday, the gates open at 6:15 am. The roundup will begin around 9:30 am and the branding at 1:00 pm. There are no reservations needed.
- There is an amazing breakfast that is served at 6:15 am and lunch at 2:00 pm for an additional charge.
- Please plan accordingly for parking. There are over 14,000 people that attend this event.
- Finally, please do not bring any pets with you.
Even though the roundup is under three hours, plan to stay the weekend! There are over 150 vendors that are going to be at the event for the annual Arts Festival.