Travel with Bennett-Watt and learn about the buffalo roundups in Custer State Park,South Dakota.
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Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park South Dakota
Jim Watt: Well, this is the 39thAnnual Buffalo Roundup here at Custer State Park. And for the park, it’s a management too or we need to roundup the entire herd and get them safely driven under the clouds. At that point we will be starting off with the animals that will sell on November and the calves are sorted off and branded and vaccinated.
So, for the park, it’s really a management tool but it’s an opportunity to share on great event with people from around the world. We’re happy to do that. As you can see here today, I think we have another record crowd and probably over 8000 people that are able to watch this event. For most people that’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. They don’t get to see a buffalo roundup everyday and it’s a special event and great for South Dakota, are great for the black bulls in Custer State Park in particularly.
Male: The roundup actually starts a couple of days before the big push into the pens, local cowboys and a group of volunteers from all over the country begin a slow movement of the great bees into a fence area closer to the pens. On the day that the pen moved, it’s a spectacle of magnificent proportion and Olympic preparation.
Male: Well, I like to welcome everybody again to the 2004 Buffalo Roundup in Custer Park. The main objective today is to move the herd into the corals that have done injury to horses, people or buffalo.
Bob Lantis: The thing that I’ve been doing this for a long time but I like this roundup. It’s wild roar, fill the place and then everybody currently belong and we would be just the way that they were. We get a lot of the famous riders here. We’ve got the green horn and I mean, they may not be green horn riders but their green as far as handling buffalo. And then some will have a Roundup an hour. So, we tried to when I set up the teams. I set up all the teams, so I got the team leaders and I’ll get of what you call core team here. And then with the core team I try to pick the core teams so that they will take care of the people that are good riders.
And every year we have people that’s coming in, that shouldn’t be riding but they tried it anyway. And so we have true lecture now and then, you know and yesterday we revert the portion. We had two wrecks but nobody got hurt. So, that’s what we’re after is to try and make sure that nobody gets hurt. Everybody has a good time and they get to play cowboy for a day. You know my goal is to play cowboy everyday but sometimes they didn’t work out that way.
And over the years, it’s getting bigger. There are going to be 68,000 people here probably. All running to see the Old West reincarnated so to speak.
Jim Watt: Well, the Buffalo Roundup is a major event for the park and it is also one our primarily revenue sources. We have about 1400 head of buffalo on the park and the ranch land that we have here in the park will sustain about 950 throughout the winter because we do not do any supplementary fillings so they need to leave off the ranch and our winter ranch carrying capacity is around 950. So, we will round them all up and we will cut back to that number and sell to surplus. Each year, we sell about between 400 on 500 head of buffalo. And of course the buffalo market like any market fluctuates up and down. It was about 4 to 5 years ago and we have a records sale that brought in here nearly a million dollars. It brought off substantially there two years ago it was about 84,000. So, that’s a big drop and first we put a little then in our budget too.
But you know we manage they are okay and in the market it is back on the upswing. Last year, the sale brought in around 230,000 and we are expecting it to continue that climb this year and in the end of the future.
Bob Lantis: So, we’re actually go back, way back and it used to be that running buffalo was something that the Indian people did and they got off and that’s how they lived with the buffalo always there. Their mainstay, they’re Thomas area so to speak. But now recovery you know occasions like this with Ted Turner’s up a bit and all of these other guys that have made it a business to have buffalo. While the buffalo are coming back, they are coming back and they are trapped. I mean they are trapped. And they are trapped as long as they know bloom right and don’t breathe in the gentle ones because the other ones are trying to survive. I’m going to like your word.
What we’re trying to do is it when I’m yelling at them and they are on trouble or they’re going to get in trouble. You know, and I tried to look and had to see whether to be in trouble more than mine. And a buffalo which I tried graph to you one way or the other that they want you there. You know, they just don’t want you there. The one always they leave for tail. Do the way if they are going down the trail, a head and a kind of hangs back to see if it’s kind of looking back at you. The sized up where you are and where you are watching that she’s going to be the one who’s going to take it.
It used to be that when they round the buffalo into this next gate that there was no fence up there to protect the people. And occasionally we would have a little bit with the wreck one there. It would go on through that. You know through the crowds basically but we never had anybody hurt and nobody thereafter. Nobody gets hurt, nobody get two alley on part of the alley is going on.
I’m going to be drilling in jockey until I love it. In the headquarter, everybody used of it. They have such a good time doing it that is just meticulous. Something that they enjoy the ride and they enjoy this fast run and I mean when they let the proportion off that wee find out when you go with the horse enough all for fast. I mean, if the horse would look you in dynamite, you know, it about the time that buffalo right there and you will right here and he decide that you don’t like buffalo is going back and butt you up you are in deep trouble. That’s when you better hope somebody is around there to save you because are probably going to be drift off across-out that when you going to be standing and looking on the buffalo tattoo.
What am I going to do now? It’s just what we do? I’ve been doing it for 32 years and so I think everybody do until it’s long enough. Right now, we’re selecting all of their sale animals for our live bucks and then are going there. All the calves are through being random vaccinated and then we do a sort on animals for the sale and then also on the material stock. We have a certain number of newborn that were sort of to that. That’s how we maintain the level of the herd and what the ranch can support the calves.