Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Custer Round Up

Hi all,
Yahoo!! We survived the famous Custer State Park Buffalo round up. This was the 51st annual event. The buffalo are rounded up and driven to corrals where the new calves get branded and vaccinated, cows are checked for pregnancy, and they begin sorting for the auction that goes on in November. This is done to maintain the herd at the 1,300 level they desire.
  What a week it was,  beginning on Tuesday with a full day of training on how this all gets pulled off. Training began with a talk from the park superintendent then a movie from a previous round up to get us in the mood. We then loaded up into vans and drove out the wildlife loop to the round up location to get a better visualization of parking areas and where the buffalo action would be going on. Not done yet we had more training on our duties for the Arts Festival that coinsides with the round up weekend.
 It takes a ton of volunteers and staff to put this on. There are two viewing and parking areas for the expected 14,000 spectators.
 We were assigned to a small team for crowd control, our main focus keeping the crowd off the wildlife loop road and in a roped designated area. We began to realize our team of 5 was going to be spread pretty thin we only hoped the crowd would behave and not overtake us.)
 We got a nice surprise earlier in the week as Wendy's brother Rich called and said he would be driving from Wisconsin for the event. We were a bit worried we wouldn't be able to spend much time with him and traveling alone it might be lonely waiting for the action. Well Wendy had a great idea, we got a waiver for Rich to volunteer and aide us in crowd control. Boy, how thoughtful are we??.lol
 Friday is the big day, we met at the old visitor center at 4:45 am to caravan with a police escort to our respective areas. As we drove along we passed a long line of cars (close to 200) already waiting for the 6:15 parking lot opening.
 As we awaited for the opening of parking and the crowd we were greeted with a awesome sunrise. Our weather ended up being slightly overcast which may have been a blessing not having to bake for hours in the sun.
 The roundup was to begin at 9:30 but it took until almost 10:30 before we spied the first of the buffalo. After that it goes pretty fast, they come in driven fast by riders some riding and cracking their bullwhips. They also use a number of pick up trucks to assure the herd doesn't veer off course.
  It all went pretty good although the herd did make a charge off the intended course up a hill but didn't take riders to long to circle  around and bring them on in.

North viewing area

view from south viewing area

Into the corral

All in!
 Overall we had a great experience and were glad we changed to our summer schedule to include this.
 Our day was not near over, as Wendy and I had duties to assist at the Arts Festival. Wendy was manning a registration booth while I was monitoring an entrance gate. We did this from noon til 5 and then scooted back to our campground for our host duties.

 Yes, definetly a long day we zombied through and laughed as we said we were going to bed on Richards Wisconsin time zone.
 Saturday Wendy found someone to take her registration hours so she could spend some time with her brother. They got in a nice hike on the Little Devils Tower Trail while I slaved away at the gate.(
Mountain goat

Black Elk Peak (Harney Peak) in background

Great fall colors

 One perk during the roundup is that the park volunteers were given a place at the Art Festival to sell their treasures. Wendy did great with her pine needle baskets, me not so much as I had put out some diamond willow hiking sticks but there was to much competition, oh well.
 Our next plans are to leave here on Monday and travel to Wisconsin for a quick stop before heading south. Our winter plans are to work camp at Amanda's place in Live Oak, Fla.


  1. Safe travels today. Looks like you had a 'fun' time helping with the roundup. Not sure I want to get up that early to see a bunch of people watching a bunch of bison being herded :) Great that Wendy did so well with her baskets!