OK, Minnesotans, it's time to come up with your most witty, pithy and catchy winter-themed monikers for the Minnesota Department of Transportation's fourth annual "Name a Snowplow" contest.
The popular online contest that in past years has yielded names such as like Plowy McPlowFace, Blader Tot Hotdish, Han Snowlo and the Truck Formerly Known As Plow returned Tuesday and the agency will accept suggestions through Dec. 15.
"We keep getting great feedback," MnDOT spokeswoman Anne Meyer said in MnDOT running the contest again. "We have more than 800 snowplows, so we have more to name. We love the ideas and interaction, and we know people are creative out there."
Meyer also hopes the contest will remind people to drive safely when encountering plows on the road.
Last year MnDOT received more than 10,400 suggestions during December.
MnDOT staff will review submissions, select some of the best ideas and invite the public to vote on their favorites in January. The eight names that get the most votes will make their way onto one of the orange trucks, one in each of MnDOT's eight districts across the state.
MnDOT was the first transportation department in the country to launch a snowplow-naming contest in an effort to bring some levity to winter. 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."
There are a few rules to follow. Suggestions are limited to one per person and must be 30 characters or fewer, including letters and spaces. Nothing containing profanity or vulgar references will be accepted. And politically inspired phrases, slogans or plays on politicians' names are off limits, too.
"Naming snowplows is meant to be fun and lighthearted," the agency said in listing contest rules. "We're going to keep this contest nonpartisan and nonpolitical."
Winning names will be announced in February.