Bear RunsEvents

North American Bear Weekend Recap and Details for 2025

Last month the bear community gathered in Lexington, Kentucky for North American Bear (NAB) Weekend (which just so happens to be nominated as ‘Favorite Bear Event’ at the 2nd Annual Bear World Magazine Awards – Vote HERE).

Taking place from February 15 to 18, the theme of this year’s gathering was ‘Mean Bears’ a riff on the cult classic film Mean Girls from 2004. Now, North American Bear Weekend is known for a lot of things, but meanness assuredly is not one of them, as evidenced by the 1,560 people in attendance. The event managed to fill not only the host hotel but two additional overflow properties, a testament to its ever-growing popularity.

In addition to the dance parties, workshops, classes and vendor market Ben Zook of Where The Bears Are provided the Friday night entertainment with his one man show “The Dirty Show with Skyler Gentry” and on Saturday night the 12th annual North American Bear Contest was held.

This year there were 12 fabulous contestants competing for the four available titles. When the dust cleared Connor Michalchuk was named the new North American Bear, Aurora Gainsborough the North American Mama Bear, Lucas Wheeler aka Cub Chaos the North American Cub and Kelly Gillette aka Gus Gus the North American Pet.

Two special awards were also given out at this year’s event – the Victor Rodriguez-Routt “Espiritu del Oso” Award which went to Marshal Temple and the Jack G. Hinkle Memorial Award which went to Shannon Ashley.

Next year’s event will take place at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort & Spa in Lexington, Kentucky from February 20 to 23, 2025. The theme will be ‘Bears in the Barnyard’ and organizers have already planned for a Barnyard Burlesque show and a Hillbilly Hoedown as part of the entertainment. Registration begins April 1 with event passes starting at $169.

For more information be sure to check out the North American Bear website and follow them on Facebook.

BWM Staff

Our Staff Writing Team works hard to bring you great content and share news & events from the bear community and beyond.