Like a parasitic lamprey latching itself onto a fish to gorge on the fish’s blood, I will latch on to any item in the news cycle that brings me even a microscopic skerrick of joy. I will wade through a sea of political nightmares, planetary catastrophe, and celebrities being huge donglords to find the one heartwarming story of a gender reveal gone hilariously wrong or a koala riding a nice dog called Tony. While these moments are sporadic and fleeting, I take great solace in the reliable, wholesome goodness of the World’s Fattest Bear competition.

Every year, the good people of Katmai National Park in Alaska put it to the people to choose the thiccest, most deserving of the many bears fattening themselves up for winter, and every year I find myself enjoying the natural high that comes from celebrating the body of a big fat bear.

Last year the title was taken out by a delightful bear named 409 Beadnose, who narrowly beat out for the prize a bear called simply 747. That prize? As Katmai National Park puts it: “Stronger chances of living through the winter.” Not something to be sniffed at, certainly.

This year, the winner was a big beefcake of a bear named 435 Holly, who absolutely demolished the runner-up, 775 Lefty. In a bracket determined by Facebook likes, 435 Holly dominated the competition, coming in at over 18,000 likes while 775 Lefty barely managed to crack 3,000.

But, obviously, whether you are a bear or a human being, your validity in this life is not determined by popular vote or by beauty contests, and we cannot help but stan both of these big, chonky bears, and all of the other chonky bears who went head-to-head in this fierce contest.

It’s Fat Bear Tuesday and you get to decide which hulking heavyweight will walk off with the championship title. Will it be 775 Lefty or 435 Holly?

Posted by Katmai National Park & Preserve on Tuesday, 8 October 2019

We wish all the bears involved a restful winter, and well done to 435 Holly for really packing on those pounds.

She is fat. She is fabulous. She is 435 Holly. And you voted her the 2019 Fat Bear Week Champion. All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence!

Posted by Katmai National Park & Preserve on Tuesday, 8 October 2019