Despite wind, Roundup weekend successful
Jason Ferguson and Carrie Moore
Published: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
Despite strong morning winds that drove a number of vendors away early Sunday morning, last weekend’s annual Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup and arts festival was a success, park officials say.
The roundup was moved to Friday from Monday for the first time this year and park visitor services coordinator Craig Pugsley said about 14,116 people watched Friday’s roundup, which is on par with last year’s total.
“Our numbers were dead even with the last two years,”âï¿½ï¿½he said. “The weather wasn’t the best, but it did not rain, which was great. From the roundup perspective, it was very successful.”
About 1,150 buffalo were moved this year and many got to see the action from a new setup in the north viewing area, which brought people from the top of the hill to the base of the hill to create a natural ampitheater-type setting.
“It gave a dynamic view of the roundup,” Pugsley said. “It worked very, very well and the people were very happy with it.”
The arts festival was struck with bad luck early Sunday morning when winds that gusted upwards of 40 miles per hour hit the park, knocking over vendor displays, ransacking tents and completely destroying three “easy-ups” the park set up.
“Many of the vendors just packed up and left Sunday because their products were strewn about,” Pugsley said.âï¿½ï¿½“The numbers were down (Sunday), but it’s difficult to determine if it was from it being Sunday or the weather.”
Pugsley said that while Saturday saw the same about of guests, numbers were down Sunday and about 20 vendors left because of the wind, while others stayed and helped each other pick up. The wind eventually died down and made for a pleasant day.
“Sunday at 6 a.m. it looked like a disaster film,”âï¿½ï¿½Pugsley said.âï¿½ï¿½“But the show went on. I’ve had snow, rain and wind, and if I had my pick, wind would be the worst scenario. There were quite a few people who lost their booths.”
The wind also affected turnout at the annual Buffalo Wallow Chili Cookoff, which officials said had 500 tasters, 300 less than the previous year. Sixteen teams entered the cookoff, with Old West Dutch Oven Catering Co. taking first place with their “Curly and Kim and the Wagon Master.”
Second place was Black Hills Quails Crossing and third place went to the “Ghost Pepper Busters” chili of Lynn’s Dakotamart, led by Brandon DeNoma and Sean Carr.
Black Hills Badlands and Lake’s Zombie Squad won the people’s choice award, with the crew dressed as zombies, complete with bloodied clothes, contact lenses that made their eyes different colors and makeup to make it look like they were rotting.
Matt Peters, a member of the group, said the costumes “could have gone anywhere. Some people may think it’s really cool, while others may be grossed out.”
To get customers to taste their chili, members from the Zombie Squad would stumble around the crowd and rally people to come over to their booth, promising no brains were in the chili. They also threw fake arms and legs in the air and at other people.
There were a number of entries in the Cabela’s Challenge Dutch Oven Cookoff on Saturday. Dutchers from across the region competed for points and prizes in this sanctioned international Dutch Oven society cookoff. Participants were judged in three categories (bread, main dish, dessert) by 10 judges, including KOTA’s Eric Gardner. One participant was named the overall winner and is eligible to compete at the National IDO cook off in Salt Lake City, Utah, in March.
Winner in the bread category was J&J and second place was the Spice-A-Ritas.
Winner in the main dish category was Spice-A-Ritas and second place was Dakota Hash Slingers.
Winner in the dessert category was Dakota Hash Slingers and second place was the Beer Slingers.
The overall winner was J&J, a husband and wife team.
Donations from the tasting will go to the KOTAâï¿½ï¿½Care and Share Food Drive, which raised over $1,200, which translates to 6,000 meals for those in need.
Tasting took place at noon after each dish was judged and food was gone within 10 minutes for some competitors.
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