Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated incorrectly how many females had won Fat Bear Week. Grazer is the third, following Holly and Beadnose. We regret the error.
(WTAJ) — The results are in, and the 2023 Fat Bear Champion has been crowned.
Grazer, a female bear, tipped the scale this year to claim the crown. Runner-up Chunk is an adult male who was first identified in 2007. In 2023, he’s among Brooks River’s most dominant males.
Chunk and Grazer, who call Brooks River in Katmai National Park in Alaska home, were the top competitors this year when the final face-off took place on Tuesday, Oct. 10.
About the champion
Grazer is an adult female who was first seen at the river in 2005 as a cub. Grazer is a particularly defensive mother bear who has successfully raised two litters of cubs. She often preemptively confronts and attacks much larger bears, even large and dominant adult males, in order to ensure her cubs are safe.
The competition began on Oct. 4 with 12 big bears competing against each other for the coveted crown of Fat Bear Week 2023. While it was a fight to the finish, only one bear can reign supreme each year.
Grazer was voted by the fans, and there is no bear more deserving. Grazer is a first-time winner of the competition, but she is no stranger to packing on the pounds. She has been a strong competitor each year and is of course a fan favorite. Read more about Grazer here.
Runner-up isn’t a bad spot either. Chunk may not have a crown, but he is heading into winter with some proud fans and showing he is a great example of a fat bear.
Despite not advancing to the final round, each one of the bears from this year’s competition is a legend in our hearts. Take a look at some of the notable names that competed this year.
The four-time champion and the inaugural Fat Bear champion returned this year and did his very best. Otis arrived at Brooks River in late July this summer. With his age catching up to him, Otis did not look like he had eaten much of anything before his arrival. He was emaciated when he first got to the falls, but patience and persistence paid off and he was able to pack on the pounds.
Otis was already 4 – 6 when he was identified in 2001. He’s now one of the oldest bears at Katmai National Park and is easily identifiable through his blocky muzzle and floppy right ear.
Holly aka 435
Holly is also a past competitor of Fat Bear Week and won the title in 2019. She returned to the falls this year as a bachelorette and used that time to eat as much as she possibly could. She was a hefty competitor this year but lost to Grazer.
Despite not winning this year, fans are hopeful that she’ll be able to return with “umph” next year and try for the title once more. Read more about Holly here.
747. The Jumbo Jet. Bear Force One. He goes by many names, and it’s safe to say he has worked hard to get to his current figure. According to Explore, he may have weighed up to 1,400 pounds last year and was first identified in 2004. He is a skilled and efficient angler who is found fishing most often in the jacuzzi or near the far pool of Brooks Falls. He’s a two-time champion having won in 2020 and 2022.
Whilst he hasn’t taken back-to-back titles yet, it’s safe to say he’s always a strong competitor!
Learn more about the Fat Beer Week here.