Fat Bear Champion 747 photographed on Sept. 6 by L. Law. (Photo courtesy Katmai National Park)

Fattest bear crowned in annual competition

The final matchup brought Bear 747 and Bear 901 head-to-head

The dust is only starting to settle on Fat Bear Week, but Bear 747 has won the title Fat Bear Champion for the second time, after first claiming the honor in 2020.

Fat Bear Week is an annual competition celebrating the fatness of bears — a result of a successful preparation for winter — at Katmai National Park and Preserve. Over the course of the week, Fat Bear Fans in Alaska, across the United States and beyond are encouraged to vote daily on the bears who best exemplifies “fatness.” It’s not an objective competition of weight; it’s a contest of fatness as a state of being.

After a week of competition, the final matchup of fat bears for Fat Bear Tuesday brought Bear 747 and Bear 901 head-to-head. Neither bear benefited from a bye, both made their way through the entire bracket.

Bear 747 was a favorite from the start of competition, doubling the count of votes of his first opponent, then tripling the count of his second. Bear 901, on the other hand, never managed to triple her opponents votes, but did handily win her first two matchups. The park characterized the contest as “1-ton veteran victor” versus “rumble ready rookie” with a “bring-it-on bearitude.”

Despite strong support for the younger female — who on Saturday managed to defeat Otis, 2021’s champion and the bear with the most titles to his name — Bear 901 failed to overcome the popularity of the big bear named after a bigger airplane.

Ultimately, with nearly 125,000 votes cast on Fat Bear Tuesday, 747 won with roughly 54% of the vote. Throughout Fat Bear Week, the park said more than a million votes were cast.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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