Local MnDOT district honored with snowplow named after Paul Bunyan

Minnesota residents voted on a number of fun names for eight snowplows belonging to the state Department of Transportation. For District 2, the northwest Minnesota region, the snowplow will be named Plow Bunyan.

A plow pushes snow along Bemidji Avenue North in downtown Bemidji. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox have a new giant to welcome to town: Plow Bunyan.

It was fitting for the Minnesota Department of Transportation's second district, which is home to the historic statues, to have one of its snowplows named after the legendary lumberjack.

With more than 122,000 votes cast and over 22,000 name ideas submitted, MnDOT determined names for seven other snowplows as well. MnDOT District 2 is made up by northwest Minnesota, including Bemidji, Baudette, Crookston, East Grand Forks, Roseau and Thief River Falls.

The agency first invited people to submit creative ideas for a number of its snowplows in mid-December. After tens of thousands of names were submitted, MnDOT staff narrowed the number down to 50 finalists for the public to vote on.

According to a press release, the top eight vote earners were:


  • Plowy McPlowFace with 65,292.
  • Ope, Just Gonna Plow Right Past Ya with 29,457.
  • Duck Duck Orange Truck with 25,824.
  • Plow Bunyan with 22,016.
  • Snowbi Wan Kenobi with 21,568 with 21,568.
  • F. Salt Fitzgerald with 20,699.
  • Darth Blader with 20,344.
  • The Truck Formerly Known as Plow with 17,549.

Coming in behind the eight names selected, which will be used for a snowplow in each of the agency's districts, were Sir Plows a Lot with 16,212 and Giiwedin, which is an Ojibwe word for "north wind," with 16,041.
"We are amazed by the number of creative name suggestions people proposed," said MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. "We thank everyone for their votes and participation in this fun contest and thought process, becoming more aware of our snowplows, the tireless women and men who operate them and the work necessary to keep our roads safe."

In total, MnDOT plows nearly 12,000 miles of state highway and interstate roads, equal to 30,637 mile lanes. MnDOT has nearly 900 plows, including reserve trucks, and 1,400 full-time snowplow drivers, as well as 250 backup drivers.

In District 2, there are 1,802 miles of state, U.S. and interstate highways. The average route length for snowplows in the district is 57 lane miles and the average number of snow and ice events is 26. There are 68 snow removal trucks for District 2.

The district's headquarters is in Bemidji, which has Paul and Babe located at the Lake Bemidji waterfront. The city of Bemidji came together to construct the 18-foot statue of Bunyan.

That same year, the Babe statue was built, and for a time, was used in parades, before permanently being set next to Bunyan near Bemidji's downtown. The location of the statues near Lake Bemidji is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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