The Minnesota Department of Transportation will give eight more of its snowplows names, as determined by voters participating in the agency's third annual "Name a Snowplow" contest.
Polls opened Wednesday, and voters will have until Feb. 3 to choose their favorites from a list of 60 names that made the cut after the agency received more 10,400 suggestions during December.
With references to pop culture, Minnesota icons and sports teams, names on the ballot include "Alice Scooper," "Sleetwood Mac," "SKOL Plow" and "Mary Tyler More Snow." Ičamna, the Dakota word for blizzard, is also on the list.
In selecting the 60 finalists, MnDOT staff considered uniqueness, frequency of submission, Minnesota-specific ideas and names that would be easily identifiable and understandable to most audiences.
Individuals will be able to vote once and select up to eight of their favorite names at mndot.gov/nameasnowplow. The eight names with the most votes will be applied to plows, with one plow in each of MnDOT's eight districts getting a name.
Past winners have included "Plowy McPlowFace," "Betty Whiteout," "Plow Bunyan," and "Ctrl, Salt, Delete."
MnDOT was the first transportation department in the country to launch a snowplow naming contest — an effort to bring some levity to winter, said spokeswoman Anne Meyer. Agency officials had seen an article in "Roadshow" explaining how Scotland names its entire snowplow fleet and posts maps showing their locations. The country calls the vehicles "gritters," the article said, which led to witty handles such as "Gritney Spears" and "Gritty Gritty Bang Bang."
In early February, MnDOT will announce the winning names and areas where the newly named snowplows will be located.