Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup Friday, But Arts Festival Begins Thursday


          The 57th annual Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup is tomorrow morning at 9:30 with over 20,000 spectators expected, but this is also a busy day at the park.

     The 29th annual Arts Festival begins its 3-day run on the festival grounds across from the Norbeck Outdoor Education Center.

Some 150 vendors have crafts and fine art for sale with Western and Native American entertainment under the big top 

     This afternoon is the “orientation ride” for the 69 cowboys and cowgirls who’ll be conducting tomorrow’s roundup. It’s a chance for them to ride out and get a feel for the terrain without the buffalo – which technically are bison and not buffalo.  

     The Roundup is a key management tool for Custer State Park as it brings all the park’s bison together in one location for medical checkups, vaccinations, and culling. 

       The herd needs to be trimmed each winter to keep numbers from exceeding the land’s carrying capacity.

       350-to-370 of the roughly 1,400 animals in the herd will be removed and sold at auction next month to either production ranchers looking to start or expand a herd or to meat markets and individuals looking to slaughter them for food. 

     The round-up begins tomorrow morning at 9:30 with parking lots open at 6:15. Admission to the roundup is free, but a park entry permit is required. 

     There are 2 viewing areas and for safety reasons spectators must stay there until all the bison are corralled – which typically occurs around noon.

     Breakfast will be available for purchase at both viewing areas once the gates open and.lunch will be available after all the bison are in. Livestream of the Roundup available here at 9:30 a.m MT on September 30