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September 24, 2012 06:03 PM

Buffalo Roundup Attracts Thousands

Custer, SD

The buffalo roundup is what many would call an old-fashioned, good time.  And it only happens once a year at Custer State Park.

"There is nowhere else in the United States that I know of where you can actually come watch a buffalo roundup.  See an event straight out of the old west unfold right in front of your eyes.  It's really a thrill," Custer State Park's visitor service coordinator Craig Pugsley said.

"It's so much fun.  We couldn't have asked for a better day and a more a beautiful day.  It's gorgeous!" park guest Sally Kusler said.

The warm temperatures actually slowed the nearly 1,000 buffalo down some.  But for around 60 cowboys and cowgirls herding the animals from horses, the day was still plenty exciting.

"It can be wild.  You can herd buffalo any place that they want to go," cowboy Wayne Kummer said.

"When they do come across the prairie, you feel the thunder under your feet.  It just gives you a little rumble," Kusler said.

Official estimates put Monday's crowd at around 14,000.  That's more than 10 people for every buffalo.

"It's great to see everyone come out and the park does a wonderful job.  It's just a great time.  Anybody ever thinking about it has just got to be here early.  That's the only thing," cowboy Wayne Kummer said.

Roundup spectators had to be in the park by 7:30 Monday morning, but many have been in the area all weekend.

"We've had a fantastic weekend.  We were up 10 percent on Saturday and up 25 percent on Sunday at the Arts Festival," Pugsley said.

"It's just fantastic.  It's just a wonderful experience and I'd advise anybody and everybody to just come on out here and do this," Kusler said.

Over the next few weeks, the buffalo will be branded and tested for pregnancy.  Around 250 will be culled from the herd to be sold at the buffalo auction this November.

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