All 60 of MnDOT’s 2023 Name-a-Snowplow Finalists, Ranked
Don't argue. This is the correct order.
1:55 PM CST on January 25, 2023
The Minnesota Department of Transportation was inundated throughout December with 10,400 suggestions for its annual plow-naming contest. Now, bored and cold Minnesotans can vote for their eight favorites among 60 finalists; the voting runs through February 4, and eventually—like PlowyMcplowFace, Betty Whiteout, Plow Bunyan, and Ctrl, Salt, Delete before 'em—eight winners will see their names emblazoned on the sides of honest-to-god MnDOT plows. (Don't get us started on Plowy's font size.) As is our taxpayer/journalistic right, we present the following 60 critical judgments of the 60 finalists. Let's... snow?
60. Say it Ain't Snow
What the fuck? Try harder.
59. For Cold Times' Sake
This isn't even about snow. Grow up.
58. Snow and Tell
OK, look: You can't just take a common phrase and lazily shoehorn a winter term into it. You have to dig deep, muster something resembling creativity. This is important.
57. L’etoile du Nordy
Canonically, we hate Nordy.
56. SKOL Plow
Is this even a pun?
55. Snow Force One
Did you know there used to be a U.S. presidential yacht, the USS Sequoia? It was decommissioned and sold by famously humble President Jimmy Carter. Writing in his 2015 autobiography, A Full Life: Reflections at 90, Carter lamented the decision: "I was determined to be strict on expenditures for the nation, and to set an example in my personal life. I decided to sell the presidential yacht Sequoia, and to minimize the playing of 'Ruffles and Flourishes' when I arrived at public meetings. I was surprised when some of these changes proved to be quite unpopular, and to learn how much the public cherished the pomp and ceremony of the presidency." Anyway, this plow name stinks.
54. Here We Snow Again
I'm going to issue a correction in real-time, as is my right: This one deserves to be ranked much lower. It's possibly the worst one.
53. Plowie Anderson
Louie Anderson reference? Somewhat crude Pam Anderson reference? What are we even doing here?
52. Han Snowlo
Han Snowblow was right there. Come on, man.
51. Miracle on Ice
I'm as romantic for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team as anyone, and I too consider our brave plow drivers to be miracle workers, of sorts. That said, gotta question the effort level.
50. The Name's Plow, Snowplow
*blinks* *blinks* *blinks*
49. Point of Snow Return
Sorry, sorry. This one also belongs in the bottom 10. Nobody has ever said plow name ranking is an exact or infallible science. But honestly, you're not going to get this from the Strib, so let's just keep rolling, shall we?
Four finalists allude to blades. Are blades really the first thing you think of, plow-wise? Is that thing on the front even called a blade, technically speaking? This one is the most phoned in of the bunch.
47. Alice Scooper
The following placements are all non-Minnesota-specific celebrity puns. Consider them all equally bad.*
46. Buzz Iceclear
45. Melton John
44. Taylor Drift
43. Wolfgang Amadeus Snowzart
42. Clark Blizzwald
41. Sleetwood Mac
40. Sir Plows-a-Lot
Caveat time! This one is pretty clever, thus it outranks Nos. 47-39.
37. Kim KarDashing Thru the Snow
Gotta give some credit for this looooong walk to very little payoff.
36. Queen El-ice-abeth II
Our run of non-local celebs concludes with this one, which claims the middling top spot since it possibly disrespects a dead royal. We haven't forgotten 1776 around here.
35. Plow Patrol
I don't have kids but this wasn't over my head.
34. Ted Las-snow
I don't watch schmaltzy TV, yet I also understood this one.
33. Ace of Blades
Long live Lemmy; Motörhead rocks.
32. Blades of Flurry
Long live director Sammo Hung and lead actors Yang Fan and Cynthia Khan; I've not seen the 1993 film Blade of Fury, though this plow name gets extra points for its double-pun.
31. As the Snow Flies
30. Mary Tyler More Snow
A pretty low-rent pun. While you're here, please revisit our MTM-themed Weed Week art winner.
29. Bohemian Rhapsnowdy
The one-to-one of "no" noise and "snow" noise should be docked points throughout. Should have complained about that earlier, but here we are.
Tough to see what this has to do with anything.
27. Best in Snow
Ranked five spots higher than it deserves on account of that Christopher Guest movie holding the fuck up. Also, factually, plows are great in snow. Huh!
26. Mighty Morphin Plower Ranger
We're suckers for nostalgia too (see No. 1), but this is cheap "Remember the '90s?" energy. Pass.
25. Paisley Plow
RIP, king. The finalists are getting pretty good at this juncture. Thanks for suffering through the previous avalanche of negativity. We love you.
24. Orange You Glad to See Me
This one's cute. Sue me!
23. Freeze Louise
Another harmless cutie. Fun to say.
22. Bobsled Dylan
A bit incongruous. However, we gotta give it up for the king of Christmastime.
21. Scoop! There it is
Kinetic! Lively! You see this motherfucker rumbling down the block, you know it means business.
20. Better Call Salt
Kudos on the one-letter pun adjustment. To parrot a take I recently heard on a podcast, is Better Call Saul the last vestige of the prestige TV era? Might be!
19. One Plow Two Plow Red Plow Blue Plow
IDK, fun for the kiddos. IIRC, road salt is deadly for fish, so that's a bummer.
18. Yer a Blizzard, Harry
Going beyond the title of a movie/book/etc., yet still making it instantly invocative? Nice work.
This would simply look neat on the side of a plow. (Provided, again, the font is BIG ENOUGH.)
16. It's a Squall World After All
I'll be honest: I got this far inexplicably thinking this choice was a It's a Wonderful Life nod. Woulda been seasonal, woulda been a good movie. Shoutout to the deep-cut vocab choice, but I've got nothing good to say about Disney or its dumb (racist?) rides. My bad.
Could be a metal band, could be a video game, could be a strain of weed. A lot to like with all these letters.
14. Optimus Brine
Transformers are trucks; brine is salty water; Optimus Prime is the man. Checks out!
Best chance at the plow attaining a viral TikTok moment.
12. Aaron Brrrr, Sir
The vice president responsible for shooting and killing Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in a duel? Sir? Uhh, sure, why not? The weirdest finalist by a country mile. [Ed. Note: Jay is unfamiliar with the hit musical Hamilton.]
11. Ičamna (Dakota word for “blizzard”)
10. Goonodaabaan (Ojibwe word for “snow vehicle”)
Outranks the previous entry due to a) Sounding cool as hell; b) Specificity.
9. Ain't My First Snowdeo
A reassuring name. You get the same feeling as when you hear an action hero proclaim, "I'm getting too old for this shit," then he mows down like 50 bad guys. In this case, the bad guy is snow.
8. Waipahiƞte (Dakota word for “snow plow”)
Gets the nod due to dead-on specificity.
7. Harmon Chillebrew
Twins great Harmon "Killer" Killebrew is also, even in death, a root beer salesman. Best way to enjoy Old Fashioned Killebrew Root Beer? That's right: chilled.
6. I Came, I Thaw, I Conquered
Epic. Confident. Triumphant. Self-involved. Everything you want in a snowplow.
5. Just Scraping By
Summons the Midwestern energy of "Ope, just gonna sneak right past ya." And is it a profound political statement about threadbare social services following 40 years of bipartisan subservience to private capital? You decide.
4. Blader Tot Hotdish
With our blade skepticism noted, we can't imagine not smiling if this big boy came rumbling down the road.
3. Plower to the People
Inspires a rush of populist solidarity. We're winter people, and we're all in this together. Now let's get our act together and adopt a municipal shoveling program.
2. Spirit of '91
1. Camp Scoopy
Adorable. Recalls a better, bygone era. A legitimate verb that applies to the craft of snow plowing.
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