By Ken Kellar
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
Look out Minnesota, “Plowy McPlowface” and its siblings are heading to a road near you.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has recently revealed the winners in its “Name A Snowplow” contest that was held online from mid-December 2020 until the end of February 2021. The department opened the contest up to the public to submit, and subsequently vote on, names for a handful of new snowplows that will be hitting the roads around Minnesota in the coming month.
In a series of press releases distributed by MnDOT, the agency outlined the process of naming each of the new snowplows to be dispatched across the state, one for each of the state’s regional districts. In December of 2020, the “Name a Snowplow” contest was revealed and invited the public to submit potential names. This round of the contest was open to all Minnesotans and ran until January 22, 2021, at which point the names were compiled and narrowed down to a list of finalists.
“After receiving nearly 24,000 creative name submissions, MnDOT staff and leadership reviewed the list and selected 50 finalists for public voting,” the agency said in a release.
“MnDOT focused on selecting names that were submitted frequently; names that would be easily identifiable and understandable to broad audiences; or those submissions that were particularly unique, creative or Minnesota-specific.”
Once the list of finalists was revealed, voting was opened to the public. Each individual voter was allowed to vote for up to eight of their preferred names, as the winning names would go to one of the eight districts. International Falls is located within District 1.
It should be noted the release did not state if voting was restricted to any particular subset of the population. One Times reporter was able to access and submit to the voting page, though there is no way of knowing if those results were filtered before the final tally was made.
Voting for the plow names ended on Feb. 26, and the list of winners was revealed on March 2. “Plowy McPlowface,” a riff on a recurring internet joke, received the most votes with 65,292, and will be dispatched to the Metro District, which includes the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The other winning names, in descending number of votes, are:
- Ope, Just Gonna Plow Right Past Ya – District 4 (29,457)
- Duck Duck Orange Truck – District 1 (25,824)
- Plow Bunyan – District 2 (22,016)
- Snowbi Wan Kenobi – District 6 (21,568)
- F. Salt Fitzgerald – District 7 (20,699)
- Darth Blader– District 3 (20,344)
- The Truck Formerly Known As Plow – District 8 (17,549)
According to MnDOT there was a total of 122,435 unique voters who participated in the contest, and MnDOT commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher extended her gratitude to all of the public who chipped in on the fun.
“We are amazed by the number of creative name suggestions people proposed,” said Kelliher. “We thank everyone for their votes and participation in this fun contest, and through the process, becoming more aware of our snowplows, the tireless women and men who operate them, and the work necessary to keep our roads safe.”