Snow eater

(Jeff Moberg photo)


By Sarah Pridgeon

If you see a snow plow that eerily resembles a fighter plane from World War II, it’s probably time to head home and find a warm blanket. The heavy duty machine that WYDOT uses to clear out the deepest of snowdrifts was given a makeover for the Christmas parade courtesy of Rusty Speidel – and will keep its new look for the rest of the winter.

“We’d wanted to do it for a long time and finally got permission all the way up to the district office. Since our theme for the parade was ‘Light Up an American Christmas’, we were trying to paint it like a World War II bomber because our trucks are like our fighter planes,” Speidel says. He picked the V-plow for the job, he explains, because it already looks mean, all by itself.

“I painted the plow, other guys from the crew helped put lights on it and get the rest of it going and then I had my two heavy equipment operators driving in the parade.”

One of the bomber-plow’s occupants during the parade was Rick Holloman, says Speidel, a veteran of 20 years with the Air Force. The end result looked so good that WYDOT granted permission for the plow to keep its paint job for the rest of winter.

Of course, the nature of the plow’s tasks means that it will only make an appearance after truly significant snowstorms, so a sighting this winter will be a mixed blessing indeed. During the October, 2013 storm when Beulah was hit with over 50 inches of snow, for example, the V-plow was used to make the first pass.

“We actually do not use that plow very much unless the snow gets really deep, so the odds of people actually seeing that plow while it’s out and about aren’t very good,” Speidel says.

“We use it for rolling back the bad drifted areas or for opening the roads.”

The plow’s design is based on the shark nose used during World War II, most famously by the group of three fighter squadrons known as the Flying Tigers.