Every year the great buffalo roundup in South Dakota in Custer State Park draws large numbers of cowboys and cowgirls, as well as thousands of spectators.
The purpose of the roundup is to cull the large herd of wild buffalo and check the health of the animals. It’s an incredible event that’s a window into the life of the American cowboy.
The two-hour roundup culminates in a chuck-wagon lunch for which there’s a nominal charge, although there’s no fee to attend the Roundup, and reservations aren’t required. Also, park entrance fees are also waived the day of the roundup.
The buffalo roundupis difficult to replicate, however, since it’s only an annual event held on one Friday in late September/early October. Still, it provides an authentic taste of America’s Old West and draws thousands. It’s done to cull the herd to ensure a balance between its size and available range-land forage.
If you’re from out of state, I’d suggest that you make a road trip to southern South Dakota, the week of the event. In just a few days you can visit Rapid City (the largest city in the region with a good airport), Bear Country USA (more than you’d expect), Badlands National Park (incredible), Prairie Homestead, Wall Drug, Hot Springs Mammoth Site, the Wild Horse Sanctuary, the Crazy Horse Memorial, the historical city of Deadwood, and, of course, iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
It’s a very easy and enjoyable trip since everything is within a 100-mile radius, at most a two-hour drive.
Here’s a close-up view of what it’s like to be out with the cowboys on the range. (click photo)