The next time it snows, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will dispatch Plowy McPlowFace to clear the roads. Darth Blader and Plow Bunyan will be out there, too.

They are among the winning names in MnDOT's "Name a Snowplow" contest in which the agency sought witty monikers for the large orange vehicles dispatched to clear snow and ice from the roads.

MnDOT in December solicited suggestions for naming one plow in each of its eight districts and received more than 22,000 ideas. Staff winnowed the list to 50 finalists and put them to a vote.

"We are amazed by the number of creative name suggestions people proposed," said Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

More than 122,000 unique voters took part in the contest, with the winning names announced Tuesday.

Plowy McPlowFace got the most votes — 65,292 — and one plow in the metro area will bear the name. Other winners include Ope, Just Gonna Plow Right Past Ya (29,457), Duck Duck Orange Truck (25,824), Plow Bunyan (22,016), Snowbi Wan Kenobi (21,568), F. Salt Fitzgerald (20,699), Darth Blader (20,344) and in a nod to Prince, the Truck Formerly Known As Plow (17,549). Totals for the 50 finalists are available on the MnDOT website.

"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," Anderson Kelliher said.

The idea for the contest gained traction after Roadshow, a transportation website, in December posted an article — which went viral — explaining how Scotland names its entire snowplow fleet and posts a map showing their location. The country calls the vehicles "gritters," the article said, which led to witty handles such as "Gritney Spears" and "Gritty Gritty Bang Bang."

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768