DES MOINES, Iowa – The first snowfall will eventually be approaching, and city snowplow drivers are trained and ready to hit the road when it does.

Today in Iowa’s Calyn Thompson and Megan Salois tested their skills in a snowplow and had a friendly competition to see who the better driver was.

It’s a snowplow showdown on the same course Des Moines city plow drivers use to train for the upcoming winter season.

Brian Hommer with Des Moines Public Works gave the lay of the land, pointing out all the obstacles like sharp turns that mimic cul-de-sacs, stop signs, and dead ends.

It was finally time for us to get behind the wheel. Not afraid of a challenge, Megan volunteered to go first.

As we navigated the course, city workers scored us adding points for every metal bar we hit but also deducting if we hit the barrels that simulated where a mailbox or car would be.

It took a lot of brain power, and this was with no other traffic and not on deadline.

“From the time the snow stops, we can have the whole city plowed within 24 hours,” Hommer said.

After Megan put it in park, it was then Calyn’s turn.

Sitting that high up in a snowplow gave us both a brand-new perspective and having plows on the front and side makes knowing how close you are to your surroundings a challenge. It helped us see there are things we can all do to help the professionals this winter.

“The two biggest things I can tell you is give us our room to work, don’t crowd us,” Hommer explained, “and please don’t park on the streets because it slows us down even farther.” 

After completing the course, we still needed to know who the better snowplow driver was.

“Final scores were Megan with 645 with a time of 9:01… Calyn, your total score was 710 with a time of 10:57,” a city worker said. “So Calyn’s score was higher, but she was slower… As far as points, Calyn did win.”