It’s amazing how many quirky events take place throughout the U.S. on any given day. One of these unique events is the Buffalo Round-Up, held annually for more than 50 years in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota’s Custer State Park.
I had the pleasure of attending the Round-Up this fall with a group of friends from North Dakota. I wasn’t sure what to expect—being from Texas I was familiar with cowboys and longhorns and rodeos … but rounding up buffalo!? What in the world would that entail? Well, I definitely found out … and I discovered it was great!
It starts with a beautiful drive into Custer State Park during the magical season of Fall. Cowboys greet car-packed tourist with a smile and a tip of their hat. The event is free and open to the public and allows young and old to get up-close and personal with the historic beasts.
Thousands of people line the rolling hills with chairs, binoculars and cameras, waiting for the stampede to begin. The purpose of the event is to corral roaming bison for inoculation, sorting and branding, to help the dwindling population find its foothold again.
As the anticipation builds, children squeal in delight, adults move closer to the flimsy fence, and photographers secure their tripods. And then all of a sudden—there they are! Cresting the hill and traversing the valley—a stampede of hooves and dust, fur and horns. The electricity builds as people whoop and holler, cowboys crack their whips, and the ground vibrates with magnificent force—and for a moment, everyone is transported to another time when these beasts roamed wild and free on the open planes.