SYRACUSE -- Round the first corner on Antelope Island and, immediately, the startling sight of a free-standing bison greets visitors.
But this imposing bison staring out over Great Salt Lake won't be part of the annual roundup, which began Friday and continues today at the island.
Standing in that morning sun is a bison made of fiberglass, one of a half-dozen artistic replicas of the woolly beast scattered about Antelope Island State Park as a permanent remnant of the 2002 Olympic celebration in Utah.
On Friday, that fiberglass greeter welcomed more than 300 volunteers who signed up to help herd the animals in the 24th Bison Range Ride and Roundup, hosted by the Utah State Parks and Recreation Department.
"No iPods whatsoever," yelled out team captain Neal Christensen, standing on a truck bed at the start of the day, an early morning chill still hanging in the island air.
Christensen explained to gathered volunteers that they need all their senses to stay safe around the finicky bison, which are known to charge horseback riders during the roundup.
In an event that started in 1986, volunteer riders work with state employees to move the bison from the southern tip of Antelope Island to the handling facility at the park's northern end.
The cattle-like drive helps park and wildlife staff conduct a yearly checkup of the herd, which this year totals around 700 bison.
"I'm not one of the aggressive riders. I'm scared of getting gored," said Tarryn Galloway, a Hooper resident in her second year in the roundup saddle.
This year's volunteer squad is larger than last year's group, said park officials.
Riding a two-colored leopard appaloosa Friday was Don Bradshaw, of Clearfield, on his 12th ride. Alongside was KyAnn Checketts.
"It's our daddy-daughter date," said KyAnn, explaining their third family ride together. "I was raised by him. I grew up on a horse."
Steve Bates, Antelope Island's wildlife range manager, said 200 of the bison had already been brought in; another 100 of the older animals will stay out.
The 10-mile drive is unpredictable, at least as much as the bison are not to be hurried unless they wish it.
Helping this year is experienced South Dakota hand Chad Kramer. He is the bison herd manager at Custer State Park, where the herd is 1,200 strong.
"It's a working vacation," he said, wearing a dark hat and sporting a bushy mustache.
The newly snow-capped Oquirrh Mountains brood in the distance as a break in the first blush of a cold fall brought in a warm day for riders.
This year, some organizers carried guns loaded with birdshot to prod the bison to move along, and they used them. Last year, the herd stalled late in the day and refused to budge.
"The first shot does not hurt the animal," explained Christensen.
Bates reported Friday's roundup went well, with minimal incidents and a quick pace for an early afternoon finish.
Leaving the park, some of the day's visitors watched a coyote sneak along the water's edge as a herd of pronghorn sheep grazed on one side of the island.
It is not unusual to see, during regular park days, the free-roaming bison standing complacently along the island's roads.
But in the days ahead, park rangers will bring in the bison stragglers, the remainder of the herd that will be part of the roundup.
People can visit the bison corrals between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Nov. 5-6 to observe as the bison are weighed, blood-tested, inoculated and scanned.