Buffalo Roundup this weekend

Charity Wessel
The Governor’s Buffalo Roundup starts this week with essentially something for everyone as there’s the roundup, an arts and crafts festival and the Crazy Horse Volksmarch. 
Custer State Park’s Buffalo Roundup is now a 57-year tradition where the public is invited to watch as approximately 1,300 buffalo are herded into corrals.
South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks uses the help of many local citizens on horseback and in designated vehicles to run the dense herd of buffalo. 
The roundup is conducted so the buffalo can be health screened and branded for the annual fall auction. It’s also a measure to support Custer State Park’s grasslands. 
The public is welcome to watch the enormous, thundering undertaking.
The Buffalo Roundup begins 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30, but spectators will need to arrive to Custer State Park at least by sunrise due to the popularity of the event. 
Parking lots open at 6:15 a.m. and advanced reservation isn’t required. The Buffalo Roundup area is near the hill between Custer State Park’s designated north and south parking areas. 
The south parking area is located on the Wildlife Loop in the valley near the buffalo corrals and the north parking area is located near the Wildlife Visitor area. 
Buffalo Roundup visitors should bring folding chairs, binoculars, sunscreen and clothing that can withstand rain.  Cash-only snacks, water, breakfast and lunch are available at the event.
Drones are prohibited for safety reasons and the park asks spectators not to bring pets or RVs to the event. 
The buffalo herd is rounded up usually by noon and onlookers may view the wranglers handling the buffalo in the chutes and pens until about 3 p.m.
The Buffalo Roundup week of events also includes entertainment at its arts festival this Thursday through Saturday. 
Crafts, bluegrass music, cowboy poetry, dancing and more are scheduled Sept. 29 through Oct. 1. The Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival area is located off U.S. Hwy. 16A, before the State Game Lodge. 
The Buffalo Roundup’s north parking lot is closest to the festival entrance as the festival is located on the grounds across from the Norbeck Outdoor Education Center. 
The arts festival will have events and vendors featuring South Dakota art, products for sale and a variety of musical shows.
The Arts Festival’s hours of operation are: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.
A Custer Park entrance license is required except for Roundup Day, Sept. 30. For more detailed maps and a schedule of events, visit gfp.sd.gov/buffalo-roundup.
Also this weekend, Crazy Horse Memorial will host its fall Volksmarch Sunday, Oct. 2. 
The Crazy Horse Volksmarch is a steep 6.2 miles and takes hikers to the left arm of the carving with an up-close look at the Lakota warrior.
The hike’s admission is $13 cash per person and discounted group rates are offered. 
Parking is free with on-site registration beginning at 7 a.m. 
Volksmarchers may start walking between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., and need to be off the trail by 4 p.m. Plan an approximate four-hour round trip. 
Pets, strollers and wheelchairs aren’t permitted due to the trail’s rugged terrain. 
Full information about the Volksmarch and its events may be viewed at crazyhorsememorial.org.   

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