Seeing the Buffalo run is not the only thing to do at the 47th annual Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup. For 19 years there has been an extremely popular, three day Arts Festival held in conjunction with the Roundup. Besides the public art buffalo that is auctioned off up to 150 vendors will offer for sale their fine arts and crafts including many South Dakota made products. There is also a variety of western and native South Dakota entertainment.
“The Buffalo Roundup has been going on here in Custer State Park for 47 years and I personally have been here for 32 of them. I can remember when we would have maybe 200 people standing on the hill yahooing when the buffalo came in,” said Craig Pugsley, Visitor Services Coordinator. “The last couple of years we have had nearly 14,000 people. In my mind, it is the only place in America where you really come out and experience something out of the Old West like a buffalo round up.”
Pugsley continued, “Financially and economically, it’s really a big boon for Custer state Park, the Black Hills, and the state of South Dakota. All of the campgrounds in the park are filled up, the resorts are full, the town of Custer, Keystone, and Hill city are all full and the towns around Rapid City and Hot Springs all see an economic impact from the Roundup and the Arts Festival.”
“We really started to build this arts Festival back in 1994. It was the park’s 75th anniversary and to coincide with the anniversary, we started the Arts Festival to try to build a better product, so that when people came up here for the Roundup on Monday, they would have something to do on Saturday and Sunday, and now this has grown to be almost as popular as the Roundup. We have over 150 exhibitors on site, which is the most we have ever had, and we will have a record attendance on Saturday,” said Pugsley.
The central focus of the Arts Festival is the auctioning of the buffalo display art submitted by invited artists. Artists from all across the country submit designs to the Festival for judging. If accepted, the artist then completes their design on either a full sized or table top fiberglass buffalo which is offered for auction at the Arts Festival. The full size buffalo are highly sought after by South Dakota businesses and the table top buffalo are prized by individual collectors.
To have one of your designs accepted is a major accomplishment. For the 2012 Arts Festival, Ross Lampshire of Loveland, Colo., had three of his buffalo designs accepted and one piece of coiled pottery. Lampshire is a native Colorado artist and specializes in hand coiled pottery depicting the Anasazi ruins of the Southwest, as well as acrylic paintings and bronze sculptures featuring primitive and Native American images, western and contemporary rodeo themes. Rosses participated in several public art projects across the United States and is also the artist of a best-selling Painted Pony edition.
Lampshire also did very well in the auction. His life size buffalo, Riders on the Storm, sold for $4,500. A table top variation of Riders on the Storm sold for $2,600 and a second table top buffalo, An Eye on the Needles, went for $2,100. To top it all off a piece of coiled pottery sold for $250. The Custer Arts Festival was an exceptional showing for this well-known and highly respected Colorado artist.
If you would like more information about Ross Lampshire and his art, you can contact him at RossLampshire@comcast.net. ❖