Highway Hero Submitted by: Melissa Davis
Read the Mitchell Republic News Article about Highway Hero!
What would you name a snowplow? How's 'Highway Hero,' which will soon push powder, scrape ice in Mitchell area
The South Dakota Department of Transportation announced 12 winners of the state's second annual Name the Snowplow contest
Written By: Hunter Dunteman | 1:49 pm, Jan. 5, 2022
A City of Mitchell snow plow clears off a road near Avera Queen of Peace Hospital.
PIERRE, S.D. — Twelve freshly named snowplows will hit the streets this winter, pushing fresh powder aside for travelers in South Dakota to arrive to their destinations safely.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) held its second annual Name the Snowplow contest in November, accepting public submissions for state-owned snowplows in 12 different plowing districts across the state.
The contest was designed to engage people across the state with the SDDOT in a fun way while providing safety information to assist the traveling public during winter weather.
“Dale’s legacy is a tribute to all snowplow operators, tow truck drivers, law enforcement officials, and others who work long hours, in tough winter weather conditions, to keep the traveling public safe throughout our state,” Noem said.
Roadway safety is a high priority for the SDDOT, and officials say winter driving and snowplow safety awareness is vital to keeping people safe each and every day.
Melissa Davis, of Mitchell, who submitted the winning name of Highway Hero, focused her entry on the hard work of the SDDOT snowplow operators.
“There are heroes all around us,” Davis said. “I wanted to recognize the hard work and sacrifice that snowplow drivers give every winter. It is true that not all heroes wear capes.”
Part of that sacrifice is heading to work whenever it snows — even if it’s a weekend or holiday, according to Liz Franco, of Elk Point, who submitted the winning name of Thank Me Blader.
“The inspiration behind the submission of Thank Me Blader was my dad, who worked as a snow plow driver for the state,” Franco said. “Snowplow operators serve an essential role in keeping the public safe, having to go out in the worst of driving conditions and on weekends and holidays. It’s a role that does not get as much recognition and thanks as it should.”
Snowplow naming contests, and their adaptations, have taken the internet by storm in recent years, since officials in the United Kingdom opened up for public submissions to name a research vessel.
When voting on submitted names had concluded, Boaty McBoatFace led the polls with over 124,000 votes. Researchers instead opted for the fourth-highest vote-getter, David Attenborough, which only garnered 1,100 votes.
Name-a-snowplow contests have been held in recent years in Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and more.
In July, Rapid City adapted the contest to name their garbage trucks, resulting in trash-haulers named Sir Dumps A Lot, Mt. Trashmore, Littler-Gitter and Obi-One-Can-Only.
In SDDOT's 2020-21 competition, Mitchell's snowplow was named Blizzard Wizard, while other SDDOT areas saw snowplows named Thaw Enforcement, Walter the Salter and more.
If SDDOT decides to hold another contest later this year, submissions have traditionally opened in November.