A Minnesota Snow Plow Naming Contest: Nominees Included Lake Snowbegone, Plowin’ in the Wind, and Darth Blader

From a New York Time story by Neil Vigdor headlined “Phony McPlowface Has a Shot in Naming Contest. ‘Abolish ICE’ Does Not”:

The suggestions came in by the thousands, with the inevitable puns and nods to Prince, Minnesota Twins legends and, of course, snow.

There was Raspberry Brrr-et, Road Carew and Minnesota nICE, all credible options as clever names for state snowplows.

When the Minnesota Department of Transportation recently asked for the public’s help with naming eight snowplows as part of a contest, an even more popular suggestion was the phrase “Abolish ICE,” according to an analysis by The Minnesota Reformer, an independent news website, which obtained the 24,000 entries in a public records request.

The wintry-sounding slogan, a play on the rallying cry of critics of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, ranked No. 2 among the entries, The Reformer determined. . . .

Plowy McPlowFace and variations like Snowy McSnowface and Plowy McPlowerson were the most popular submissions, and Plowy McPlowFace made the list of 50 finalists. That appears to be a nod back to Boaty McBoatface, the name internet users in Britain overwhelmingly favored for a $287 million polar research ship in 2016. Britain’s Science Ministry ultimately disregarded the 124,000 votes and instead named the vessel for the naturalist David Attenborough.

Other nominees on the list alluded to Minnesota culture, places or people: The Truck Formerly Known as Plow, Purple Snow, F. Salt Fitzgerald, Lake Snowbegone, Plowin’ in the Wind, Mary Tyler More Snow, Flake Superior and Tator Tot Hotdish. Quite a few were allusions to “Star Wars”: Snowbi Wan Kenobi, Luke Snowalker, C-3pSnow and Darth Blader.

Not all of the submissions were jokes. The list of 50 choices includes Giiwedin, the Ojibwe word for “North Wind,” and Ičamna, the Dakota word for “blizzard.”. . .

The idea of naming snowplows was inspired by Scotland, which drew widespread attention in December with its names for its plows, known as gritters. The names there include William Wall-ice, License to Chill, Sled Zeppelin and Sweet Child O’Brine. . . .

The names had to be no more than 50 characters. That left room for some long ones: Oh Snow You Didn’t, Edward Blizzardhands, Duck Duck Orange Truck and Princess Kay of the Snowy Way all made the list of finalists.

Neil Vigdor is a breaking news reporter on the Express Desk. He previously covered Connecticut politics for the Hartford Courant.

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