Travel News

Plowy McPlowface has a chance in the naming contest. “Abolish ICE” does not.

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 smart names for state snowplows.

When the Minnesota Department of Transportation recently asked the public for help in nominating eight snowplows in a competition, an even more popular suggestion was the phrase “Abolish ICE,” according to an analysis by The Minnesota Reformer. , an independent news site, which obtained all 24,000 entries in a public records request.

The wintry-sounding slogan, a play on the rallying cry of critics from the Federal Immigration and Customs Agency, ranks second among entries, The Reformer determined.

But Minnesota transportation officials have drawn a line in the snow, excluding it from a list of 50 finalists who are part of an online poll that ends Friday. The winners will be used to nominate a plow in each of the state’s eight regional transportation districts.

“It was supposed to be a fun, light-hearted contest,” Jake Loesch, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said in an interview Sunday night. “There is certainly a time and a place for political expression. A snowplow naming contest might not be the right place for this. “

Mr Loesch hinted at the fuss around the name Abolish ICE on Friday Twitter.

“I love our @MnDOT lots of snowplow naming contests, but I also didn’t foresee that by creating it, I would condemn myself to a life of apologies that the submission of people’s favors was not on the last 50, ”he said. said Mr Loesch, adding that prepared me very well for this #opesorry. “

Plowy McPlowFace and variations like Snowy McSnowface and Plowy McPlowerson were the most popular submissions, and Plowy McPlowFace made the list of 50 finalists. This seems to be a nod to Boaty McBoatface, the name British internet users overwhelmingly preferred for a $ 287 million polar research vessel in 2016. The UK Department of Science ultimately ignored the 124,000 votes and named it instead. the ship for naturalist David Attenborough.

Other nominees on the list have hinted at the culture, places, or people of Minnesota: The Truck formerly known as Plow, Purple Snow, F. Sel Fitzgerald, Lake Snowbegone, Plowin ‘in the Wind, Mary Tyler More Snow, Flake Superior and Tator Tot Hotdish. A few were allusions to “Star Wars”: Snowbi Wan Kenobi, Luke Snowalker, C-3pSnow and Darth Blader.

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

The name “Abolish ICE” has been suggested in a December tweet by Kanad Gupta, a software engineer from Minneapolis who is in his twenties.

“I think it was a clever pun more than anything,” Mr Gupta said in an interview on Sunday night, adding that he made the suggestion jokingly, although he supports the elimination of the ICE. “I would love for them to reconsider, but I’m not losing sleep.”

Although President Biden has called for an overhaul of the immigration system, he stopped before seeking to dismantle the ICE, as urged by some on the political left. During Mr. Biden’s first month in office, ICE moved away from some of the contentious policies of former President Donald J. Trump’s radical “America First” agenda.

It might make Plowy McPlowFace look like a shoo-in, but not necessarily. Minnesota transportation officials will make the final decisions, Mr. Loesch said, which won’t be based solely on popularity in the online poll.

Once the names are chosen, they will appear on the back or sides of the plows, with one assigned to each of the state’s eight regional transport districts, officials said.

The state has more than 800 snowplows in its fleet, Mr. Loesch said.

He said the idea of ​​naming the snowplows was inspired by Scotland, which gained wide attention in December with its names for its plows, called gritters. Names there include William Wall-ice, License to Chill, Sled Zeppelin, and Sweet Child O’Brine.

“We’ve gotten a lot of questions from people about why Minnesota doesn’t appoint plows,” Loesch said.

The idea is gaining ground (sorry). Along with Minnesota, which announced their competition in December, South Dakota and Michigan are also seeking public assistance in naming snowplows. The same goes for the cities of Scandia, Minn., And Syracuse, NY

In Minnesota, names could not exceed 50 characters. That left room for a few features: Oh Snow You Did, Edward Blizzardhands, Duck Duck Orange Truck, and Princess Kay of the Snowy Way all made the finalist list.

Mr. Loesch said the range of submissions was wild. “There was no way I could have found all of this on my own,” he said.