Don Bolt of Flowery Branch just missed making the top three in a license plate design contest for the state.
The winning design, by Linda Sosebee of the city of Forsyth, was announced Monday and garnered 34,154 online votes.
It features a pastoral scene with peaches and a blossoming tree. Production of the new plate will begin this fall.
Bolt's design, featuring green leaves across the top and a peach hanging in the center, was at fourth place with 8,569 votes.
"So close. So close," he said in reaction to the news. "What's that old line, ‘I coulda been a contender.'"
The second-place choice, also by Sosebee, received 15,380 votes.
Bolt said he and his wife Joy campaigned for his design through social media and personal and work contacts. He found out Aug. 8 that he didn't make the top three, but he didn't know where his design fell in the ranking until Monday.
He admitted the winning design was not his favorite, though he congratulated the winner and said he was honored to be a semifinalist.
"I just think it's a little busy for my personal taste," he said.
Bolt plans to redeem himself at next year's Spring Chicken Festival art contest, which he won last year.
The plate contest included eight designs, which were narrowed from 500 entries submitted from across the state. State officials chose the winner from the top three vote-getters in the online contest.
The contest ran up against a bit of controversy earlier this summer after confusion arose over whether the motto "In God We Trust" would be on the new car tag.
The public was invited to re-vote on those top eight designs.
Georgia drivers can get the new plates next year.
People have the option of adding the religious motto to the tag for an additional dollar. They also will have the option of selecting a plain tag, according to a news release from the state.
The new license plate will incorporate a flat, digital design, which will save money and allow customers to have their license plate delivered to them rather than having to pick it up at a county tag office, according to the release.
Associated Press contributed to this report.