Of all the license plates in the United States and Canada, why New Mexico?

The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association awarded New Mexico first place for its turquoise plates, but some New Mexicans are still bummed about the bumper decorations.

Student Adam Rottler said the plate is unworthy of a national award.
“It seems like a cop-out after the solid yellow one,” he said. “It is basically the same thing, but with different colors. How about some creativity?”

The plate, designed by David Rohr, commemorates New Mexico’s 100-year statehood in 2012 and features a Zia sun symbol with yellow rays and a red center over a turquoise background.

The ALPCA will host an awards ceremony later in the year, and the organization’s president will travel to New Mexico to present state officials with award plaques.

New Mexico was among 12 finalists, and 3,000 ALPCA worldwide members voted for their favorite based on the design attractiveness and its ability to serve as a tool for public safety and law enforcement. Rhode Island took second, followed by Maryland’s War of 1812 bicentennial plate and the Canadian Northwest Territories’ plate.

Student Inka Markowski said the Centennial plate is better than the “balloon” plate it replaced.

“I absolutely hate the balloon one — nobody can see what is going on in it,” she said. “It is just a mess of pastel colors.”

Student Caroline Liu said the Centennial plate is her favorite because of the coloring and simplicity.

“I’m from Illinois, so my plate is from there, but if I really wanted to change I would switch to that one,” she said. “It has my three favorite colors!”

Student Daisy Santistevan said the balloon plate is more representative of New Mexican culture.

“I really like the balloon plate,” she said. “I think that one should have won. Turquoise is our state stone, but it is definitely not the most prominent symbol of the state.”