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Buffalo Roundup Horseback CreW

Buffalo Roundup

Custer State Park has had a long tradition of using private citizens to help with its annual buffalo roundup.

The orientation and roundup will include 2 days of riding.

Thursday's orientation ride allows riders to get oriented to the terrain and the buffalo.

Friday, we will drive the herd about 5 miles into the corrals. This is a high profile public event, with as many as 15,000 spectators present on Roundup morning.

Riding Conditions

This can be very strenuous work for riders and horses. The terrain is steep and often rocky.

  • Horses should be shod.
  • Rough country running should be expected.
  • Horses will work in close proximity to buffalo, and must be able to react quickly.
  • Stream crossings may be encountered.
  • Jumping fallen trees may be necessary.
  • Do not bring horses that are not fit, stallions or late gestation mares, green-broke horses, or horses that have not had extensive outdoor use.

Riders will work in teams and take orders from their assigned Team Leader.

At a minimum, tack shall include a breast collar; a crupper and flank cinch is also recommended. This is not easy riding! If horse, rider, or tack is not up to these standards, please do not apply. We are not able to reference or recommend Horse Lease or Rental Agents.

Application Info

Applications will be available after the first of the year.

Twenty riding positions are open to the general public.

  • Completed applications must be emailed or mailed to the park office by July 6.
  • No more than two applications may be submitted, per email or mail. More than two will void all applications.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by July 15.
  • Chosen riders will be sent additional information and waiver forms that must be returned no later than August 5.

Successful applicants are not eligible to reapply for the next three years.


French Creek Horse Camp

Limited accommodations are available at the French Creek Horse Camp in Custer State Park.


Campers must pay the regular camping fees of $30 (+tax) per unit, per night.

A valid park entrance license is required.

Participants will trailer their horses to and from horse camp and the starting point on each day. Lunch is provided at the corrals on Friday.



Camping is available Custer State Park campgrounds.

Reservations: or 1.800.710.2267


Custer State Park
13329 US HWY 16A
Custer, SD 57730

Phone: 605.255.4515