Get Ready, Fat Bear Week 2022 is Coming From Katmai National Park

by Jon D. B.
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We’ve got the full schedule ahead of September’s Chubby Cubby bracket, followed by October’s full-on Fat Bear Week bracket in Katmai National Park.

It’s that time of year, Outsiders, and this bruin enthusiast couldn’t be happier to tell you that the Fat Bear Week 2022 festivities are set to begin this coming Monday, September 26! View the schedule below, then delve deep into the glory of the tournament’s 2022 return with us.

Fat Bear Week 2022 Schedule

As years prior, voting will take place on explore.org’s Fat Bear Week website where you can:

  • Browse previous winners in the Hall of Fame, learn all about FBW and follow fat bears in the news, beginning now!
  • September 26: Brace for adorable overload as the Fat Bear Junior bracket is revealed 
  • September 29 – 30: Chubby cubbies square off for your votes in Fat Bear Junior, trying to make it into the full FBW competition
  • October 3: Host your own bracket party as the official FBW Bracket hits!
  • October 5 – 10/11: Vote in each bear-vs-bear FBW matchup and don’t let your favorite get sidelined
  • October 10/11: See which bear hit it out of the park this year to become FBW Champion!

‘The entire season has come down to this!’

“The entire season has come down to this!” announces Katmai National Park in their media release to Outsider. “Competitors stretched muscles they hadn’t used in months and committed to a pre-season training regimen. Each one of them is in it to win it… Ready to go the distance, refusing to throw in the towel no matter what this season brings them.”

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747, Earl of Avoirdupois, 2020 Fat Bear Week Champion NPS Photo/ N. Boak (Courtesy of Katmai National Park & Reserve)

If you know Fat Bear Week, then you know we’re talking the enormous brown bears of Alaska’s Brooks River. Each year, Katmai National Park hosts a public-voted bracket to decide the King or Queen of all fat bears as the species gorges themselves on salmon ahead of winter hibernation. And it’s positively glorious.

“This game isn’t about keeping your eye on the ball, but rather keeping all the senses alert for the jumping salmon,” the park lauds ahead of 2022’s festivities. “Their competition isn’t about putting points on the board, but putting pounds on their weight. There are no such things as lightweights for the bears of Brooks River! Doubling body weights in a matter of months is just par for the course around here.”

The Best Part of Fat Bear Week? Anyone Can Watch these Behemoth Bruins Feast From Katmai’s Live Cameras

If this all sounds too good to be true, or you’re a fellow returning Fat Bear Believer, rest assured that the best part of Fat Bear Week is the live bear cams provided by Explore.org and Katmai National Park.

“The no holds barred efforts for survival unfold at Brooks Falls on a daily basis, witnessed by in person visitors on falls platforms and online visitors around the world through the bear cams,” the park continues. “No bear is going to pull any punches in this heavyweight competition. Which bears are going to throw their hats into the ring this year? Well, none of them wear hats, technically. But all of them are working their tiny tails off to pack on some pounds and be rotund enough for this roundup.”

This season, Katmia’s oldest and most famous brown bear, 480 “Otis,” was back in the game early. Otis is “looking prime to take on the competition once again,” the park celebrates. He was also 2021’s winner – his fourth win in competition history. But will Bear 747 or 435 “Holly” reclaim the title they had in years past?

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Fat Bear Week 2021 Champion (Image courtesy of Katmai National Park Press)

“Is there a dark horse (er, brown bear) in the race that can upend the trophy winners like 128 “Grazer,” 32 “Chunk,” or 151 “Walker” all trying to claim a maiden victory? Would it be a Hail Mary to back one of the youth in the “junior” category?”

Ultimately, it is our votes that will crown the winner of Fat Bear Week (FBW) 2022!

“So whichever bear has you in their corner,” Katmai says, “make sure you are there for them throughout the competition.” 

This competition comes courtesy of the partnership between Katmai National Park and Preserveexplore.org and the Katmai Conservancy. To get in on the action, head to the live cams here on the explore.org website.

For more information, see our National Parks Journal: Ranger Cheryl Spencer on the ‘Must-See’ Elements of Fat Bear Week next.

Outsider.com