Fat Bear Week is back for its 10th anniversary and ready to give the world an inside look into the world of Katmai National Park in Alaska. Each year, the Katmai Conservancy puts on a March Madness single-elimination style competition where 12 brown bears of the park are put in a bracket and people at home are able to vote at home for their favorite bears. The park is home to around 2,200 bears as of 2007.
When it comes to what criteria the voters are basing their choice on, it could be simple which bear is the bigger or which bear overcame the most; there are no strict parameters for what drives your vote. The competition inspires curiosity and brings attention to a vital ecosystem. And let’s be honest, it’s just fun.
Every year, spectators are introduced to new bears and say hello again to familiar faces. Bears such as 480 Otis, 32 Chunk, and 435 Holly are well known to those who tune in every year. Each bear carries a story, for example, 435 Holly is well known for being a mama bear to an adopted cub in need of a mom to teach him the ways of the woods. 480 Otis is another popular bear. Known to the park since 2001, Otis leaves an impression on the viewers at home with his sizable mass and unique fishing style. Every year, Otis makes sure he’s in the running every year for the fattest bear.
People at home can cheer for their favorite bears and see how they progress through the rankings. Last year in 2021, over 800,000 votes were collected in the competition with Otis coming up top as the winner. (His fourth time winning the competition!)
Bears have the ability to hibernate for months on end (up to 7), storing and using their energy in the most efficient ways possible. Fat Bear Week marks the end of a summer spent fattening up on salmon. And when their sleep is over, they wake recovered, energized and ready to take on the wild. When it came to naming Bear Mattress, the idea of sleeping as well as a hibernating bear felt like the perfect fit. With modern life as busy as it is, we are focused on providing our customers with optimum relief and recovery so they can rest fully each night and wake up feeling their best. We want you to wake up feeling like you are coming out of hibernation feeling ready to face the day.
Imagine if getting hibernation-caliber sleep every night was possible? At Bear, that’s what we are driven to deliver by combining the latest sleep recovery technology with safe materials and a personal touch, so that you can wake up in the morning feeling like you’ve had a season's worth of sleep. Just like each bear competing in Fat Bear Week has their own unique journey, we know every sleeper is unique and that’s why we provide a range of mattresses and accessories to ensure every person finds the perfect fit. With a range of award winning hybrids and all foam mattresses, there’s plenty to choose from.
Do you like your mattress to be on the firmer side? We’ve got you covered with our award winning Bear Elite Hybrid’s three comfort levels. Sleep better when it feels like you’re falling into a cloud every night? We’ve got a mattress for that. Try the Bear Hybrid for ultimate comfort. Not sure what mattress is ideal for you? Check out our mattress quiz.
How to Participate in Fat Bear Week:
The competition runs from October 5th and October 11th. Voting is open every day of the competition between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern time. (Four hours ahead of Alaska.)
You can find the voting page here.
Meet the bears competing here.
Katmai National Park has a whole schedule of events where you can engage further with Fat Bear Week.
- Fat Bear Week Contestants and Bracket Reveal: To see the contestants for the year’s competition and bracket reveal you can tune in to the Brooks Live Chat channel on October 3rd and 7 p.m. EST. Watch here.
- Welcome to Fat Bear Week Live Chat: Learn more about the importance of bears survival techniques and how they cope with the harsh Alaskan winters with resident naturalist, Mike Fitz, and rangers from the park on October 5th at 7 p.m. EST. Watch here.
- Fat Bear Tuesday: On October 11th at 7 p.m. EST, when only two bears are left in the competition, get a deeper dive into their lives and the importance of fat to the bears of the park from resident naturalist, Mike Fitz, and Katmai National Park rangers. Watch here.
- Brown Bear Celebration and Fundraiser: On October 15th at 4 p.m. celebrate another Fat Bear Week in the books and the history of Katmai National Park. Join explore.org’s resident naturalist, Mike Fitz, and documentary filmmaker and former Katmai ranger, Naomi, Boak as they explore the park’s history, future, and Katmai Conservancy efforts to support the park. Watch here.
- Live Bear Cams: You can also tune in to the Bear live cams that Katmai have set up at Brooks River and see the brown bears of the park fish for salmon. Find the live cams here.