Alaska Life

Today’s Fat Bear Week matchups include a Divot, a diva and a debonair fighter

Yesterday y’all got out the vote! We love to see it. Explore.org boasted record-breaking participation and 747 Bear Force One easily flew past 856. Phew. Meanwhile, 335 Jolly looked on as the people showered 164 Bucky with votes. And, per usual, he was right there to catch them.

[Fat Bear Week is on: Here’s a guide to Katmai’s bulky bruins and how to vote for your favorite]

The plot thickens today as some of the biggest booties of Brooks Falls come out to play.

Bear 854, a competitor in the 2022 Fat Bear Week bracket

Match 3: 854 “Divot” vs. 151 “Walker”

One day, after 10 years of growing up in the Park, 854 Divot straight up left. It was summer, she had two cubs and she had a great paying job, that is, the salmon were abundant and the living was easy. Most have no need to explore, so they don’t. But, there’s something about Divot. For two weeks, no one knew where she was. It might not have been a big deal except she returned with one less cub and a wire snare wrapped around her neck. Who knows exactly what happened out there, or where.

There are some things we endure that we endure alone. And, there are some moments when you get a little help from your friends. Park rangers and biologists all came together to help remove Divot’s life-threatening snare. Although the wire is gone, to this day she still has a visible ring around her neck. Divot reminds us that every day we survive things we see and cannot see. And, that healing does not mean the bad things that have happened to us disappear. Most of all, Divot represents the possibility of recovery. These days, 854 Divot eats with an “I’m worth it” kind of attitude and, damn right, sis. You, who can bear the weight of the world, you deserve every good thing.

Bear 151, a competitor in the 2022 Fat Bear Week bracket

Meanwhile, 151 Walker, wow. I mean, some bears put in the work and some bears know how to work it, and Walker embodies both. There are a lot of pictures of Walker, and it impresses me how many of them are almost the exact same sideways pose of him looking over his shoulder at the camera. Walker doesn’t have a bad side, and yet, he is never not accentuating his obtuse angles.

This boi is just biding his time till he’s GQ Sexiest Bear Alive. Have you seen the image of him resting his avant garde arm on a rock, looking at you across the river, 100% boulder smolder, like, “Hey girl. You gonna eat that?” A recognizable feature about my boo Walker is that he has a pear shaped body; interestingly all his food goes straight to his rump. They say (OK, and they’ve seen) that Walker starts a lot of fights these days; he is often modeling wounds. But is that? A bite mark? On his booty? (Whistles) Walker, you chunky snack you. You can be fat, or you can be fat with swagger, and that’s the walk Walker’s walking.

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Bear 901, a competitor in the 2022 Fat Bear Week bracket

Match 4: 901 vs. 909′s Yearling “Bean”

901 is having a hot girl summer and she knows it. All the biggest and baddest boy bears of Katmai wanna be with her. She’s like “Whatever losers, I’m going to the beach” and they’re like “Which beach? I wanna go to the beach.”

Katmai Park Ranger Kim Grossman said 901′s focus seems to be eat, sleep, and pass on her genetics which is maybe the best to-do list I have ever seen. Fat bears are so good at managing their priorities; honestly, it’s inspiring. No one manages 901; she is known to be fiercely independent, and also passionate about naps. She is a newcomer to the scene but with those corpulent curves she is not leaving anytime soon. Truly one of the plumpest paunches in the park and one of the thicc-est girls on the bracket.

The 909 yearling

Fat Bear Junior champ, 909′s yearling “Bean,” joins us on the big bear bracket and rightfully so. There’s lots to love about Lil Bean; for starters: everything. This is her second summer and she’s already got strong Beyoncé energy — a bear that is not afraid to defy expectations. Bean is one of the few yearlings who learned to fish on the lip of the falls! Sing with me now: I dream it, I work hard, I grind till I own it.

But perhaps the most precious thing is Bean’s joy and how it has no border. They say it’s rare to see bears of extended families play together, and Bean did this throughout the summer. Bean-yoncé's confidence and camaraderie culminated one day in September when adult male 856 (see what I mean? So rude. See yesterday’s article) was approaching where she and young 901 Jr. were playing. In the fat face of danger, Bean stood up like the tiny beast she is and protected her cousin! She was a li’l floof of fearlessness and she was all in, and that’s some hero journey material right there. Also, for those who vote on weight gain alone, check out Bean’s before and after photos. They’re stunning! They’re stunning of course because she’s a baby and they, you know, grow up fast. I look forward to watching Bean size up into the spirited superstar she already is!

Voting is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. AKDT at explore.org!

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