Man vs Bear: Who Will Win the 20,000 Calorie Challenge?

Column by Christie Greene
Posted 9/8/21

Ask Will Tennyson how to arrive at 20,000 calories and this is what he would tell you: Breakfast: one dozen doughnuts, 2 McDonald McGriddles, 2 hash browns and 2 breakfast burritos. Lunch: one jumbo …

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Man vs Bear: Who Will Win the 20,000 Calorie Challenge?

Posted

Ask Will Tennyson how to arrive at 20,000 calories and this is what he would tell you:

Breakfast: one dozen doughnuts, 2 McDonald McGriddles, 2 hash browns and 2 breakfast burritos.

Lunch: one jumbo 18” loaded pizza and a Firehouse Sub (the New York Steamer).

Snack: one cookie dough tube (baked), one pint of vanilla Haagen Dazs with chocolate sauce, one Three Musketeers bar and 3 bananas.

Dinner: 2 Cheesecake Factory entrees (spaghetti and meatballs and spicy cashew chicken) with white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.

A YouTube sensation, Tennyson uses humor and his own video footage to relay salient points about his experience with diets like paleo, vegan or OMAD (one meal a day). In November 2020, he declared his intention to consume 20,000 calories in one day.

Tennyson peers into the box of 12 perfectly round, sugary, deep-fried doughnuts and quips, “Cloudy with zero chance of survival.”

But when it comes to consuming 20,000 calories in one day, there’s a bigger, badder binger out there: the brown bruins of Katmai National Park in Alaska. These animals wait patiently in and along the fast-flowing Brooks River, simply opening their mouths or pulling their paws through the water. Out pops a 4,500 calorie sockeye salmon. This fatty gift makes for a fatty bear. Location, location, location.

National Park Service rangers have created Fat Bear Week that will start Sept. 29 and conclude on Fat Bear Tuesday, Oct. 5. In addition to voting during this week-long tournament, there will be a series of online chats on explore.org featuring naturalist Mike Fitz.

Katmai park rangers learn more about the individual bears and Katmai’s healthy ecosystem. Fat Bear Week creates a “March-Madness style bracket pitting individual bears against each other. The public then votes to see who will advance each round. Voting takes place over several days on explore.org. People may vote using any criteria they see fit. In the end, one bear will reign supreme.”

In 2020, nature lovers from around the world cast almost 650,000 votes, and 113 articles and media pieces were written about Fat Bear Week. From around the world, there were 2.5 million bear cam views. A bear simply called 747 (and nearly as big as one) was the 2020 champion, deposing 2019’s champ, a big fellow named Chunk. Will 747 keep his title for 2021?

Colorado might not have fat bear contenders, but it is imperative to remember that allowing bears access to food or purposely feeding bears on your property will not only endanger the bears, your pets and kids, and your neighbors but could earn you a hefty fine. Let wildlife be wild and that means bears need to eat the food nature intended, not at the garbage buffet.

This year, the number of bear reports has dropped from last year. Jason Clay, public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, stated, “As for the natural food sources, those have been good this year thanks to all the moisture we’ve gotten. When bears have plenty of their natural food sources, we see a decrease in bear conflicts. Last year at this time, Area 1 (which includes Evergreen) had 242 bear reports. This year the area has only had 174.”

What does this mean for Will Tennyson? Perhaps he should stick to experimenting with protein shakes and military ration diets and leave the EPIC 20,000-calorie contest to the real champions.

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