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Before The Snow Falls, Plow Drivers Compete In Rodeo

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It happens every year around this time. Snow plow drivers from around Minnesota get together for the snow plow rodeo.

With a winter storm brewing up north, hundreds of plow drivers are in St. Cloud for a couple of days.

They get to see what's new in trucks and equipment and also compete in a precision driving event. And its a real challenge, even for these highway heroes.

The snow plow rodeo is a game of inches. The drivers run identical trucks through a series of cones and barrels and signs. Judges measure and time their performance, and points are lost for hitting anything. And this is just a parking lot on a warm, sunny day.

"Most of the time these guys work at two in the morning, in snow and freezing rain, under traffic conditions, especially during rush hour in the metro area, it gets very tricky," said Grant Riemer, the rodeo boss.

That's why snow plow drivers from cities, counties and MnDOT, all have the same advice for the rest of us.

"You have to be aware of surroundings at all times," said Becky Spindler, a MnDOT plow driver. "I think if they just take their time and pay attention, that would be good for us."

"A truck, when its got the full load of sand and stuff on it, and all the plow equipment, we're 60,000 70,000 pounds, so we can't just stop on a dime," added Harold Reinhart, Cambridge plow driver.

This equipment expo also lets drivers and buyers see all the latest gear -- from L.E.D. lighting to salt brine tanks.

"A tandem-axle snow plow truck, just the way this one behind us is set up, you're probably gonna be dropping about $215,000 to $220,000," said Jim Owens, of Little Falls Machine.

We can't tell you who won the rodeo, because it takes a couple of weeks to crunch the numbers.

But the winner gets to go to Wisconsin next year to compete in their snow plow competition.

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