Buffalo Roundup riders relishing rare opportunity

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 2:05 AM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - It’s the calm before the stampede as Custer State Park prepares for a massive spectator event.

Cowboys and cowgirls are set to wrangle over 1,400 buffalo during the 55th Annual Buffalo Roundup on Friday.

60 round-up riders will descend on the herd, reining them south of Wildlife Loop Road before steering them northeast towards the park’s bison corrals in front of thousands of onlookers.

Most riders are only allowed to drive the buffalo once every four years, making this rare opportunity something to savor.

Mark Hendrix, resource program manager for Custer State Park, has driven the buffalo herds for nearly a decade, reveling in the experience each year: “to be one of the lucky 60 people to be able to do that is definitely an incredible thing. It’s an honor - [I] feel like it’s a privilege, too.”

Once the buffalo are all rounded up, the herd will be processed to check for health and branding. 200 of the healthiest animals will also be auctioned off.

If you can’t make it out to Custer to see the herd, you can tune-in to Good Morning KOTA Territory Friday morning. We’ll bring you live coverage building up to the round-up, along with all the highlights.

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