HomeOutdoorsFat Bear Week: Katmai National Park Adds ‘Junior’ Brackets for ‘Chubby Cubby’ Competition – How to Participate

Fat Bear Week: Katmai National Park Adds ‘Junior’ Brackets for ‘Chubby Cubby’ Competition – How to Participate

by Jon D. B.
Katmai brown bear cub (Photo by Jim Abernethy / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)

“For the first time, cubs have a division all their own!” For the first time, Fat Bear Week fans are voting on “chubby cubby’s” too.

It’s happening, Outsiders: Thursday, September 23 and 24 will bring about the first ever Fat Bear Junior competition! Katmai National Park & Preserve brought the tournament live today ahead of the festivities, so get ready to vote for your favorite chubby cubbies Thursday and Friday on their official bracket. Below, we’ve got a preview of Thursday’s bracket alongside everything you need to know to jump into Fat Bear Week like a pro:

“Too cute for school but fat enough to compete – the day to celebrate chubby cubbies has come! The official Fat Bear Junior bracket is here. By voting on the 23rd and 24th at www.fatbearweek.org, you decide which gigantic junior competes against the grown up guys and gals,” Katmai posts to their official Facebook.

The park includes a preview of their Junior bracket within, showing the four weans ready to do battle. And by battle we mean eat until they pop the hearts of Fat Bear Week fans everywhere.

It’s a brilliantly simple setup once the festivities begin. Live voting is available at FatBearWeek.org, where Katmai’s interactive bracket allows for voters to click on who they want to see advance in the tournament. If you’ve ever competed with any sort of sports bracket (March Madness, etc), you’re looking at the exact same setup here. But instead of human athletes, the chubbiest and most survival-minded brown bears of Katmai duke it out for the title of King or Queen of Chonk.

Thanks to Katmai National Park’s media team and explore.org’s resident naturalist, Mike Fitz*, we’ve got basic identifiers and bios for the cubs below – alongside the manner in which they’ll face off.

Fat Bear Week’s First Official Junior Bracket Competitors

  • 128 Grazer’s Dark Yearling: “This second-year female cub has brown fur that is especially grizzled around her face and neck. Her ears are conspicuously blond like her mother 128 Grazer.”
  • 132’s Spring Cub: “This first-year bear has a short muzzle and shaggy brown fur.”
  • 435 Holly’s Yearling: “This second-year female cub has grizzled-blonde fur. Her appearance closely resembles her mother, 435 Holly.”
  • 909’s Spring Cub: “This first-year cub has dark brown ears and medium-brown body fur.”

For much more detailed biographies on each cub, including their birth year and fishing habits, head on over to Katmai National Park & Preserve’s NPS website.

How It Works & Voting Times

“New in 2021, Fat Bear Junior highlights four cubs in a precursor competition to Fat Bear Week,” Katmai says in their Junior statement.

To participate in this new bracket, visit FatBearWeek.org (which will take you to explore.org’s Fat Bear Week bracket page). There, you’ll vote to determine which cub will advance to compete with the major league players in Fat Bear Week.

For September 23-24, voting closes at 5pm AKDT (6pm PT, 9pm ET) on the day of the post.

And as Katmai and Explore say: “Only one will receive the title of #FatBearJunior!” Then, get ready for the main event, Fat Bear Week!

Fat Bear Week runs from September 29th to October 5th for 2021, and Outsiders – it is our votes that will decide who is the fattest of the fat. Matchups will be open for voting between 12 – 9  p.m. Eastern (9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Pacific).

Outsider.com will be covering Fat Bear Week throughout, including interviews with Katmai National Park staff for our National Parks Journal series. We can’t wait, and hope to see you there!

For plenty more information on the tournament, as well as last year’s winner, Outsider’s got you covered there, too.