Richard meets… Lisa Smith, North American Mama Bear 2019

North American Bear Weekend is one of the leading bear runs in the USA – a full weekend of parties, social events, excursions, and vending all taking place in February in Lexington Kentucky. A highlight of the weekend is the title run and this year saw a change up with the titles now offered as North American Bear, North American Mama Bear and North American Cub.

I was fortunate recently to catch up with the very first North American Mama Bear, Lisa Smith. 

Richard Jones: Hi Lisa, thanks for sitting down with us, it must have been a crazy few weeks since you won the very first North American Mama Bear title?

Lisa Smith: Yes crazy does not even explain the following week’s. This has been a whirlwind. So many new friends made, invites to events, and so many great memories already. 

RJ: What surprised you about the competition?

LS: I think the biggest surprise was how supportive the contestants were. It was like we were just one big family helping and supporting each other. It was amazing how much love was shown and how many great friends were made. 

RJ: What made you enter the competition?

LS:  I support the inclusiveness and body positivity that they promote.  It’s amazing to just be your self and be comfortable in your own skin. The competition made me feel like Miss America. That’s why I entered. 

RJ: How do you think it will change your life?

LS: My life has already changed positively since I met the bears I can only imagine what the future could hold. 
Contestant #7, Lisa, Klondyke Bear 2018

RJ: What do you think this title will mean to the male and female bear community around the world? Tell us more about the uniqueness of the Title.

LS: Well as a Mama Bear I feel like we are the protectors the guardians. As a mother, you show unconditional love and as a Mama Bear, I plan to do the same. My title is very unique because it was one the Bears had to show just how inclusive they really were. To bring women into a man’s world and let us shine right beside them was hard for some, but the bears fought for us. They stood their ground and made a difference. 

RJ: What do you plan to do with your title year?

LS: I want to travel and meet as many people as I can. Locally I am involved as much as possible with any Bear activity and just recently committed to Bitty Bobbity Boo. It is an event for underprivileged girls to get ready for prom. I will be fixing hair and speaking to the girls about body positivity. 

RJ:  What does the bear community mean to you?

LS: I get asked that question so many times and the answer is the same as the first time I answered it. The Bears mean family to me.  

RJ: What are your plans with your Title Family?

LS: It’s early I am still planning but i definitely will be hanging out with those guys soon. I want us to show up as a group as much a possible. We all live so far from each other but we stay in contact and do have some plans in the making. 

RJ: Tell us more about your platform?

LS: I have many platforms that I feel very passionate about. Brest cancer awareness and letting men know it’s not just us ladies that have to get checked. Domestic violence since my mother was killed in a domestic dispute. Drug abuse since I am a recovering addict, I have been clean for 6 years now. There many things I hold near and dear to my heart and I hope to be part of as much as I can. 

RJ: And where and when can we see you and meet you?

LS: I will be at Claw in Cleveland OH in April. I also will be handing over my title as Miss Klondyke of the Ohio Valley in New Albany IN in October. I am going to North East Ursamen for the Mr Connecticut Bear competition in August. And, I committed to being at World Bear in Cincinnati this year in Oct. 

Thanks to Chester and Dane of Entendre Photography –

Richard Jones

Richard is the Co-Founder of Gray Jones Media, the parent company of Bear World Magazine, and was the magazine's creator and editor for its first three and half years. He is busy developing the business in many other directions, but loves coming back to contribute when he can.