CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. (KELO) — There weren’t just herds of bison at this year’s roundup. Thousands of visitors from all over attended the 55th annual Governor’s Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park.
Hundreds of cars lined up outside the event gates early this morning. Joyce and Alan Steinhoff arrived even earlier.
“Just seeing the buffalos and seeing the cowboys and it’s just the yipping and yelping and it’s just a lot of fun,” Alan Steinhoff said.
The Steinhoffs have attended the roundup for years. They even brought their granddaughter Tia Mueller this year.
“We kind of got ‘roped in’ I guess. My grandparents have been coming for a while and they’re always super excited about it and so we’ve been looking forward to it for a long time now,” Mueller said.
They aren’t the only ones. Visitor services manager Kobee Stalder says this year’s roundup appears to be just as popular as last year when more than 19,000 people came to watch these cowboys and cowgirls, these bison, and Governor Kristi Noem.
“It doesn’t matter if a hundred people or 20,000 people show up. We put on this event just because it is a critical herd management tool and the bonus factor is that people from across the country get to witness it,” Stalder said.
It took 60 people to round up about 1450 bison across the park into the corral.
“Once the event starts, that’s when all the excitement starts and the crowds really get into it,” Stalder said.
Here at the corral, folks can watch as state park officials brand, pregnancy test, and health check all the bison.
Custer State Park officials say people were encouraged to social distance and there were hand sanitizer stations near public restrooms. Visitors were welcome to wear masks, but they were not mandatory.