Thursday, September 30, 2010

Feelin' the Thunder

September 21-28...the entire week was spent in western South Dakota doing a press trip in conjunction with the 45th Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park. Friday night we arrived at the Custer State Park Game Lodge with our 20ish journalists to join the rest of the 175ish guests that were invited in by the Governor to enjoy festivities and tours surrounding the Roundup.

The Roundup first and foremost is a herd management tool that the park has been doing for 45 years. Each fall the park staff needs to roundup the buffalo to sort, vaccinate, sell off some of the herd and check for pregnancies. However, the event just happens to be one GREAT event for people from across the world to enjoy. The Governor also uses the weekend as an economic development tool - to show people what a beautiful state South Dakota is to live, do business, play, and visit.

This post will show off a couple photos of the Buffalo Roundup itself...a later post will highlight the rest of the week out in western South Dakota. Now, keep in mind...this has become a HUGE event. Over 14,000 people poured into the park for this event - the general public sees the herd coming up and over the hills and into the corrals for about 20ish minutes...not very long. Cars line up for hours to get into the park. I had the priviledge of being able to ride in one of the chase vehicles...there are about 30 vehicles and 60 cowboys/girls used to round up 1,300 buffalo. And I was in one of those vehicles. It's a seriously bouncy ride, but seriously an experience of a lifetime.

Riding in a chase vehicle allows our journalists a great opportunity to snap some photos close up to the herd. Also, luckily, the Governor's guests who do not ride in a chase vehicle are invited up to Governor's Hill...away from the other 14,000 people viewing the event.

Here are where the majority of the herd are resting. The trucks and horses were split into three teams. Our team had to roundup about 4 dozen buffaloes into this herd before they pushed the entire group toward the corral.

Getting ready for the final push...

I also was able to catch some video...and hope that I can find a way to upload that in the near future. Stay tuned!

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