In Colorado, one is able to plate their car from a large selection of license plates. From wildlife to outdoor sports to military recognition to the Denver Broncos or Colorado Rockies. Other specialty plates are available like antique cars, street rods and collector vehicles. Certain requirements, though, must be fulfilled with many of the specialty plates prior to receiving one.

During the 2016 session, the state legislature overhauled the license plate statute. A specialty plate would need to have 3,000 plates issued every year to avoid “retirement“. Those plates not meeting the new threshold, the sponsoring groups were notified the plates they support would be retired in 2017.

Colorado Pioneer license plate
image courtesy of Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles

The second most popular specialty plates is the Pioneer license plate. Previously, an applicant needed to provide documentary proof indicating they were a descendant of a Colorado settler, or a multi-generational Colorado family with a minimum of 100 years of presence in the state. Understanding the difficulty in gathering documents, the standard was relaxed. Providing proof would no longer be required; payment of the $50 set-up fee would be the only requirement. The relaxed requirement has not lead to a sudden uptick in Pioneer plates seen on the road.

When my dad traded his venerable 1978 Buick LeSabre Custom for a newer model car, I suggested he choose a specialty plate over the standard Colorado green and white. He would have a much larger selection than most applicants – US Army, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Korean War Veteran, Vietnam Veteran and Pioneer. Dad seemed not to be interested much by a specialty plate. He chose the Pioneer plate when he registered his car today. Dad said he liked how it looked on my Expedition.


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