The History:

The History of Katmai National Park & Preserve Fat Bear Week Tournament 

Fat Bear Week: A Very Short History.

The contest started in 2014 with Fat Bear Tuesday. It was a one day event, but proved to be extremely popular. 480 Otis beat 410 that year.

In 2015 , the tournament was expanded into a whole week  and has kept the same format since. 409 Beadnose defeated 480 Otis in the 2015 contest.

In 2016480 Otis  defeated 435 Holly and won Fattest Bear on Fat Bear Tuesday and Alaska Day !

The Purpose:

The purpose of the tournament:  In the words of former KNP&P ranger Michael Fitz:  "No matter what, Fat Bear Week is about connecting bears to their survival adaptations. It doesn't really matter who wins, because more people now recognize the efforts bears go through to gain weight to survive the winter."

The Fat Bear Week Campaign Trail: bearcam viewers participate in campaigning for their candidates:

Blog by former KNP&P ranger, Mike Fitz ~ 747 Should Be Your Choice For Fat Bear Week

2017 Fat Bear Week Campaign Posters on Shutterfly

2017 Fat Bear Week Campaign Posters Facebook Album

2017 Fat Bear Week Tournament:

2017 Fat Bear Week Tournament 

October 4th to 9th is Fat Bear Week , and October 10th is Fat Bear Tuesday. Getting fat means winter survival for brown bears, and October is the month that Katmai’s bears are heaviest. This is your chance to weigh-in and choose which bear will tip the scales to become the 2017 Fat Bear Tuesday Champion. There’s no fat shaming here; we’re celebrating the sweet, salty survival of Katmai’s most successful bears.

Over the next seven days, we’ll post dueling pictures of bears commonly seen on the bearcam. These photos will show the same bear in early summer and fall to illustrate the bears’ relative weight gain during the summer.

How to Participate: This is a single elimination tournament to determine the fattest bearcam bear of 2017. For each set of two bears, vote with your "likes" for the bear you think is the fattest. Likes will be considered final at 6:00 pm AKDT on the day of the post. The most liked bear advances. Only one will be crowned the 2017 Fat Bear Tuesday Champion!

Video by Martina on how to vote on Facebook

An important rule in the event of a tie  between 409 Beadnose  and 435 Holly :

Wednesday, October 4, 2017:

Round 1 :  435 Holly vs 854 Divot

Fat Bear Week is here, and it’s ladies first in round one. Stakes are high for these bodacious mother bears. They’re fattening up not just for their own survival, but also for that of their dependent cubs. They’ve sacrificed vital calories to nurse and feed those furry little chubsters, who’ve more than double their weight over the course of the season. Nevertheless, both have fattened up admirably. Only one of these fat mommas can advance to the next round. Who should it be?

435 Holly was declared the winner of round 1.

435 Holly is the winner of round one! Her next competitor will prove to be even more challenging. After all, he's named after a plane.

Round 2 :  128 Grazer vs 409 Beadnose Round 2 features warrior vs. the wise with two more beefy mother bears. 409 Beadnose is raising her 4th litter this year, outperforming 128 Grazer 4 to 1 in the reproduction department. Lucky for Grazer, this competition is about one thing, and one thing only: bulging bellies of lard. Which of these lovely lady’s lumps are lumpiest? Will Beadnose be Grazered out of the running, or will 409’s experience guide her to sweet, swollen victory? Only you can decide.

409 Beadnose was declared the winner of round 2

409 Beadnose wins in a landslide victory! The former champ is moving on to the next round, where she'll meet a veteran in bear obesity - 410.

Thursday, October 5, 2017:

Round 3 : 719 (435 Holly's 2014 biological offspring) vs 503 Cubadult (402's 2013 biological offspring / 435 Holly's 2014 adopted yearling)

Look out, this competition just got personal. Round 3 is a family affair, with two siblings facing off in a blubbery battle of the ages. Subadult bears like these two might not put on the poundage like their older competitors, but they’ve stayed busy this summer cultivating vital, permanent mass for the future. The fat they gained this summer will help them survive the winter, as well as ascend from the bottom of the bear hierarchy. Life isn’t easy for these subadult bears, and neither is this competition. The winner of this round will go on to face one of the big boys - 32 Chunk. Which of these two is ready for a shot at #Chunkmania?

503 Cubadult was declared the winner of round 3

In the closest round yet, 503 Cubadult squeaks out a victory against his younger sibling. He'll have his paws full next round with 32 Chunk!

Round 4 151 Walker vs 856

Welcome to the big leagues, Walker. This wasn’t 856’s biggest year, but he’s certainly still a big fatty force to be reckoned with. While 856 was away from the falls for much of the season, 151 Walker was busy bulking up, with thick thunder thighs to prove it. Does this up-and-comer really have what it takes to unseat the legendary 856? Enormity is the name of the game, and without it, these bears won’t survive the harsh winter ahead. Both are bulging with good chances for survival, but who’s bulked up best?

151 Walker was declared the winner of round 4

This one was a no contest! 151 Walker stole the show, eliminating the legendary 856 with ease. How far will he go in Fat Bear Week? Check back this week to find out.

Friday, October 6, 2017:

Round 5 : 747 vs 435 Holly :

It’s no wonder 747 got a first round bye - this bacon-wrapped blimp looks to have eaten his last competitor. That’s not to say the former finalist, 435 Holly, won’t go down without a fight. She narrowly lost to 480 Otis in last year’s competition. This year, though, she’s got two chubby cubbies to look out for. No doubt, the single momma has earned her spot in this competition, but does she really have the heftiness to claim victory over 747? He’s one of the largest, most dominant bears at Brooks Falls - is he also the fattest?

747 was declared the winner of round 5

Valiant attempt Holly, but not many bears can stack up to 747. Check in tomorrow morning at 9:00 am AKDT for another round of roly-poly FatBearWeek fun!

Round 6 :  410  vs 409 Beadnose :

How do you transform your body into nothing but booty? Just ask one of these luscious lady bears. If they could answer, they’d tell you the secret is in the art of the summer nap. When these strapping sows aren’t stuffing their face with salmon, they’re beached in a belly hole nearby. Far from lazy, these two butterballs have serious survival skills. Energy conservation has earned these big girls excellent chances for survival this winter. Now they need your votes to survive to the next round of Fat Bear Week. Who will you choose?

410 was declared the winner of round 6

The Queen of Katmai, 410 prevails this round! She'll have some hefty competition this Sunday with a showdown against the jumbo jet, 747.

Saturday, October 7, 2017:

Round 7 :  480 Otis  vs 151 Walker : 

Fan favorite fatty, 480 Otis, has arrived. The one and only ZenMaster knows how to eat AND compete - he’s a two time Fat Bear Week champion. His first competitor is an up and comer underdog with some serious cellulite potential. These two have met before, often competing for space in the same fishing hole at the falls. Only one of these big beefcakes can advance to the next round. Will it be the bear, the myth, the legend, or can Jr. dash and grab his way to the next round?

480 Otis was declared the winner of round 7

Get ready for a showdown of enormous proportions - TeamOtis is moving on to the semi-finals.

Round 8 :  32 Chunk vs 503 Cubadult : 

There comes a time in every bear’s life when they must grow up and enter the real world. In this made-up competition that we do for fun, that time is now for 503 Cubadult. He’s got a mountain of competition in 32 Chunk, who’s looking chunkier and more dominant than ever. In reality though, Cubadult is swollen beyond his years. He’s quickly learned to fish the most productive areas at Brooks Falls and established himself as a force to be reckoned with among other young bears. Whether he can topple Chunkmania, is a different story. Which chubby contestant will you vote for?

32 Chunk was declared the winner of round 8

32 Chunk wins! This could be the year that he takes the crown. Are you on TeamChunk?

Check out who made it to the semifinals :  

Check out who made it to the semifinals!

Vote tomorrow at 9:00 am AKDT and again at 12:00 pm AKDT.

Sunday, October 8, 2017:  Semifinals

Round 9 :  747 vs  410 :

How can Brooks Fall’s most elderly citizen be matched up against a brawny beastmode bear like 747? Because nature ain’t nice, that’s how. Survival is on the line for these dueling giants, and it’s a bear eat bear world - sometimes literally. This is competition at it’s finest, folks. These fatties have worked hard over the summer to prepare for the long winter ahead, but just one overweight whopper can move on to the finals. Who earned it most?

747 was declared the winner of round 9

410 gave this round every pound she had, but it just wasn't enough. Congratulations to the jumbo jet 747 for making it to the finals!

Round 10 :  32 Chunk vs  480 Otis :

Holy meatball, these bears are big. 480 Otis is the most famous bear on the internet, but this competition is about more than popularity, it’s about bear obesity. Those bulging bellies provide food throughout the long winter, and help to maintain a spot in the competitive bear hierarchy at Brooks Falls. Only the beefiest bears enjoy good fishing and mating access. It’s time to pick a side. Are you on TeamChunk or TeamOtis?

480 Otis was declared the winner of round 10

Better luck next year, Chunk. The one and only ZenMaster is headed to the finals for a second year in a row.

The Semi-Finals Are Set ~ The Final Matchup!

The Fat Bear Week Semi-Finals are set! Our final matchup will pose two salmon guzzling giants against each other - 747 and 480 Otis. Check in tomorrow (October 9, 2017) at 9:00 am AKDT to cast your vote!

Monday, October 9, 2017:

The Final Round  :  480 Otis  vs 747 :

This is it folks, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. These brutes are facing off for the glutenous glory of the Fat Bear Tuesday title. Bears that pack this kind of lard get the best fishing spots at the falls. That makes for big gains all summer long, baby. They’ve put on hundreds of pounds over the course of the season, which they’ll need to survive the harsh winter ahead. Neither of these beef-cakes look to be starving any time soon, but only one will waddle away with the Fat Bear Tuesday Title. Has 480 Otis earned a third win, or will the jumbo jet 747 finally fly to victory?

How to Participate: This is a single elimination tournament to determine the fattest bearcam bear of 2017. Select one of the two photos and “like” the photo of the bear that you think is the fattest. “Likes” for the final round will be considered final at 11:59 pm AKDT on the day of the post. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, October 10th.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017:

2017 Fat Bear Tuesday Winner Declared :  480 Otis 2017 Fat Bear Tuesday Champion

In a close, hard fought battle, 480 Otis has retained his FatBearTuesday title for the second year in a row.

This heavyweight champion’s path to victory has been fraught with obstacles. He competes for fishing access with younger, stronger, more aggressive bears on a daily basis. His teeth are ground away to mere stubs. Still, he perseveres.

Through learned experience, the ZenMaster has honed his craft, and chiseled his gut. With great patience, Otis conserves energy by sitting in one place all day, sometimes even sleeping on the job while he fishes. His high energy economy helps to convert salmon into the maximum amount of lard around his belly. It’s earned him the unrivaled ownership of three FatBearWeek championships, and more than 20 years of prosperous survival.

Not all bears have what it takes to be winners, or to survive through the many challenges of life in the wild. In a toast to our reigning champion, we salute success, survival, and strapping fat bears. Here’s to you Otis, you big fatty.

2017 Fat Bear Week October Madness Bracket Challenge:


Just for fun , and because some chatters don't participate in Facebook, last year we started a Bracket Contest just with those chatters here who wanted to participate. This is unrelated to the voting and will not cast any votes for you. Participation is totally optional.  You can download a copy of the bracket, fill in your winners in the blank spaces all the way through to the champion and then post it in comments, tagging (type in your comment) nsboak. After each "round" (which will include a full column on the bracket and sometimes encompass two days) GABear and LaniH will "score" them, awarding points to anyone who chose the bears who win in the official contest that day on the Facebook page. GABear will post a link for a scoring sheet so you can see how you are doing. The winner gets..... Bragging Rights!! LOL Filling out your complete bracket and submitting it is totally voluntary and we don't expect everyone to join in since many will be able to vote in the Facebook contest.  If it looks like fun, please do it. Otherwise, enjoy the voting and posting on the Facebook page. We will only accept bracket entries until Ranger Dave starts the voting with a post on Facebook on the morning of Wednesday, October 4, 2017. As soon as that post goes up, our entries will be closed.  

The following chatters participated in the bracket challenge:

907AKSnow , ajah , Allie EskaAmanda Thompson , bearsneagles , Bookmom , Captivated Cat , CatCo , ColoradoCarol , Cruiser ,  csrivers , CTBear , dcs1955 , DeeCADogMom , DTB , fencepost , GABear , gossamer520 , grandmaj , GreyhoundJo, Gwinnie , jsswws , Juergen , Kasiakcanada , kerstin59 , LaniH , Larinorleala , Lovethebears , LoveTheCams , lynner , lyrics2go , mazey , MChezMelissainOR , MickeyMartin , Mike Fitz  (747's campaign manager ), MollyGee-TXMoon river , mosiac_world , naturegirlNSBoak , olddude , PaPa 42 NY , pipersmom , pkilborn , Ploermel , RMiller , RockatteRonica , Skip32 , SophiaLatham , Steph , SteveCa , stmangoT.P.(speedy), WSJWuvtai5

2017 Fat Bear Week October Madness Bracket Challenge Winners Declared

For those who submitted a Bracket in the October Madness Fat Bear Bracket Challenge, we’ve calculated the final results based on the “like” votes at the close of voting last night (this morning for many of us). Congratulations to gossamer520  and Mosiac_World!  They finished in a tie for first place! And, they had a perfect bracket – guessing every winner correctly! Thanks to all who participated. It was fun! 

View the bracket score sheet here