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South Dakota Buffalo Roundup: 47 Years of Managing the Herd and Preserving History


PIERRE, S.D. – Nearly 50 years of expertise will come together in Custer State Park when the 47th annual Buffalo Roundup thunders across the prairie on September 24. 

“The Buffalo Roundup is a quintessential example of Old West culture living in today’s world,” said Matt Snyder, superintendent of Custer State Park. “The work our park staff and volunteer cowboys do is essential to the management of the bison herd, and helps to keep alive a part of our history.”

The Roundup has become a popular event for visitors who want to experience authentic Old West culture.

“Nowhere else in the country can visitors experience an event like this close up,” said Jim Hagen, secretary of the Department of Tourism. “Spectators will get a real appreciation for history, as well as the bison, as they see, hear and feel 1,300 of these magnificent animals stampeding over the hills of Custer State Park.”

Nearly 14,000 spectators gathered for the Roundup in 2011. Organizers expect a similar turnout this year. The action begins at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, September 24, with parking opening at 6:15 a.m. and closing at 9 a.m. Spectators enjoy free entry to the park, and can purchase a pancake breakfast before the Roundup, as well as a chuck wagon lunch in the corral area following the Roundup action.

Fast Facts:

  • The yearly roundup is a continuation of the efforts to preserve and protect buffalo in South Dakota for future generations.
  • A buffalo auction is held each November when 200-225 animals will be sold.
  • Custer State Park encompasses 71,000 acres in the Black Hills.

For event images, view our photo essay of the Buffalo Roundup.

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism, the South Dakota Arts Council, and the South Dakota State Historical Society. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.