Having survived a week of knockouts in the competition that rewards survival-preparedness, two Katmai National Park brown bears now go head-to-head on the final day of Fat Bear Week. Only one will be crowned fattest of the fat.
The two finalists are not underdogs (ahem, Backpacker). Beadnose is a single female who won Fat Bear Week over Otis in 2015, and who got absolutely mammoth this year with no cubs to feed. And while it should be noted that 747 started out the summer less lean than Beadnose, he’s always had a strong showing in the brackets and a campaigning advantage since he shares an ID number with an airliner.
Voters now face a difficult decision on Katmai’s Facebook page. “He’s got a big stomach,” one conflicted commenter said of 747. “But Beadnose is fat ALL OVER.” Another argued that it comes down to the same image savviness that may have given Otis the edge in previous years: “I would like to remind everyone that Beadnose is sitting down, which gives her an optical advantage.” It’s up to the internet to decide. Voting closes at 7 p.m. eastern time.
This year is the first that two-time winner (and adopted son of Outside magazine) Otis won’t be facing off in the final round of voting. The aging champion didn’t even make it past his first round after getting a bye week. Though he’s still a majestic dumpling in our hearts, he’s certainly not as well-filled a dumpling as he used to be, and that’s okay. In these dark times, the voluptuous bears of Katmai are a blessing, one and all.
Still, we’re keeping a close watch on the race for Fattest of 2018. We admire 747’s rolly thighs and nearly floor-grazing belly, and maybe it’s time he got the spotlight for once. But Beadnose has already gone viral this week with her awkward facial expression, fluffy coat, and those tiny little feet emerging from her gigantic haunches.
Besides, as one commenter aptly put it: “I’m tired of well-qualified females not getting the vote.”