If you live in a state that receives significant snow, you’re probably used to the rumble of the plow truck rolling through the neighborhood at 4 in the morning. Here in Maine, a few of our trucks have clever names, like “Sled Zeppelin” and “Grit’er Done,” but the plow truck naming trend has spread across the country.
Given a chance to suggest and vote on government vehicle names, the public often takes the opportunity to come up with the most obnoxious thing possible. Remember “Boaty McBoatface?” However, some communities have managed to crowdsource plow truck names with great success. We first told you a couple years back about Scotland’s delightful tradition, going back to 2006, of allowing schoolchildren to name its plows and “gritter” sanding trucks. The kids came up with names such as “Spready Mercury,” “Gritney Spears,” “Gritty Gritty Bang Bang” and “Snowbegone Kenobi.”
Other snow removal agencies quickly latched on to the idea, and the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission just announced the eight winners of its contest this year to name plows for the Ohio Turnpike:
- Blizzard Wizzard
- Plow Chicka Plow Wow
- You’re Killin’ Me Squalls
- The Big LePlowski
- The Blizzard of Oz
- Ohio Thaw Enforcement
The Minnesota DOT was another pioneering locale in asking for help with names and says that it received more than 24,000 entries in 2020 and more than 11,000 in 2021. “Darth Blader” was one of the names that rose to the top, and in Vermont, there’s a plow named “Scoopy Doo.” The Green Mountain state named 10 of its 50-plow fleet with other names that include “Scoop Dogg” and “Betty Whiteout.” Michiganders took their plow truck entries in a classic rock-inspired direction with the “Jon Bon Snowi” plow.
While the names are fun and attract attention, they’re also meant to raise awareness of the work plow drivers do in bad weather. Officials hope the contests will help improve safety by making people more conscious of the plows on the roads.
If you live in Minnesota and have a creative name in mind, there’s still time to enter this year’s contest. The state will take submissions through Friday and says that it will narrow the list to 50 names for a vote in January. No political or vulgar names will be considered, so don’t go for the easy, low-hanging fruit; think up something original.