Drivers seem to love specialty license plates.

Decades ago when you put plates on your car, you got one style. That's it. Only the police or other "exempt" government vehicles had a different color/style. Most of us probably remember playing that game in the car on family road trips to see who can spot the most state license plates. Kind of like license plate bingo. I imagine that game is significantly more difficult now, as most states have dozens, if not hundreds of different plate designs.

Photo by Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
Photo by Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
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Montana ranks near the top for the number of different specialty plates.

Walk into the courthouse vehicle registration and title office and you'll see a dizzying array of license plate designs available to Montana motorists tacked on the wall.  Maryland takes the top spot with over 700 different designs, followed by Pennsylvania (408), Texas (400), and Virginia (264). Montana ranks #5 on the list of most specialty plates at 235. Nebraska only offers seven options and you get six choices if you live in Puerto Rico.

In 2021 the Montana Department of Justice added eight new designs to choose from. Let's take a look.

USS Montana Committee, Inc

Credit: Montana DOJ
Credit: Montana DOJ
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The USS Montana Committee is a group of volunteer Montanans from across our state who support the future commissioning of the USS Montana (SSN 794), a new Virginia Class nuclear fast attack submarine, and all those who sail aboard her in defense of our nation. I imagine this plate could be a popular choice for current or retired Navy submariners.

Baker Baseball Association

Credit: Montana DOJ
Credit: Montana DOJ
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This new entry will probably receive very localized support. Baker is a pretty small town and this plate will mainly appeal to either Baker High alumni, Baker residents, or Baker baseball fans.

Gallatin Ice Foundation

Credit: Montana DOJ
Credit: Montana DOJ
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This Bozeman-based non-profit "funds the expansion of refrigerated ice facilities for the health and wellness of our communities." I like the design and it will probably be a popular choice for hockey fans in Montana. Side note: what the heck is going on with the return of hockey to Billings?

Friends of Montana PBS, Inc.

Credit: Montana DOJ
Credit: Montana DOJ
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I feel like most people who purchase specialty plates do it for one of two reasons. They either like the design, or they support the cause. This plate for Montana PBS is quite attractive.

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Montana Agriculture Heritage Foundation

Credit: Montana DOJ
Credit: Montana DOJ
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This plate reminds me of that old country song from the late Joe Diffie, John Deere Green. "The whole town said that he should've used red, but it looked good to Charlene... In John Deere green."

Montana Veterans Alliance

Credit: Montana DOJ
Credit: Montana DOJ
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This cool camo plate will probably do well in Montana, and proceeds from sales of the plate go to a great organization that helps support our vets.

MVA seeks to achieve our mission by working to connect Montana’s nearly 100,000 veterans to programs and organizations in their area, as well as, providing financial support to organizations for various programs that are directly helping improve the lives of veterans and their families.

Montana Youth Sports Association

Credit: Montana DOJ
Credit: Montana DOJ
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This plate looks similar to Montana Police Protective Association Foundation's design, minus the blue line. It's clean, simple, and patriotic. They'll probably sell a lot of these.

Public Land Water Access Association Inc

Credit: Montana DOJ
Credit: Montana DOJ
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Perhaps one of the simplest designs available, this white-on-black plate would look great on your black or white vehicle. Access to public land and water are also big issues in Montana, which will probably help make this plate design a popular choice.

Whimsical Homemade Mailboxes Only Found in Montana

Made from recycled parts and pieces, these unique mailboxes are anything but boring.

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