Bear 747, known as Bear Force One, crowned Fat Bear Champion of 2022 |

Bear 747, known as Bear Force One, crowned Fat Bear Champion of 2022

Staff report
Bear 747, nicknamed "Bear Force One", was crowned the 2022 Fat Bear Champion.
Courtesy Photo

The people have chosen, and a champion has been crowned: Bear 747, known to his friends as Bear Force One, is the 2022 Fat Bear Week champion.

His path to victory was no easy thing. Bear 747 had to scarf an awful lot of salmon and anything else that got in his path to claim victory.

Fat Bear voting week was not without its fair share of scandals, including attempted voter fraud. 747 was nearly dethroned by Bear 435 Holly in the quarterfinals. Katmai National Park tweeted: “Like bears stuff their face with fish, our ballot box, too, has been stuffed.”

It turns out someone spammed the Fat Bear Week poll. But, officials were able to remove the fraudulent votes, and 747 advanced to the semifinals.

On the other side of the bracket in the biggest upset of the season, rookie Bear 901 defeated four-time champion Otis to advance to the quarterfinals. Even with his strong fan base, Otis’s 21,074 votes could not compete with 901’s 44,080.

The last two bears standing, 747 and 901, chomped their way into the finals. While the young 901 put up a fight, she did not quite get enough votes to defeat 747. She is the youngest bear to make it to this far in the competition. At an estimated 1,400 pounds, 747 certainly earned the Fat Bear Week crown.

Katmai rangers said all bears will continue to stuff themselves with salmon until it is time for them to go into hibernation. As the food supplies dwindle, the days get shorter and the weather becomes more severe, the bears will head into their dens to hibernate.

“Fat Bear Week is first and foremost a celebration of success,” said Katmai visual-information specialist Lian Law in the Fat Bear Tuesday live chat. “It celebrates all of our bears, and the hard work they have done to get ready for the winter ahead. And, it’s a way to highlight the resiliency, adaptability and strength of Katmai’s brown bears.”