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Snowball Ban Overturned In Colorado Town After Request From 9-Year-Old Boy

A boy's quest to throw snowballs legally in his town ended in victory on Monday, when trustees of Severance, Colo., agreed with a request from Dane Best, 9, to overturn a long-held ban on snowball fights. Best won the town board over with cold logic.

"Today's kids need reasons to play outside," Best said, according to member station Colorado Public Radio. "Research suggests that a lack of exposure to the outdoors can lead to obesity, ADHD, anxiety and depression."

Speaking in front of a crowd of residents and media, Best told town trustees that because of the nearly 100-year-old ban, which classified snowballs as a type of missile, he couldn't throw a snowball without worrying about breaking the law, or getting into trouble.

As he made his case, Best gave "a description of snowball fights (similar to dodgeball)," according to CPR's Xandra McMahon, who posted a series of tweets from the meeting.

"I feel like half of this attendance is made up of kids," McMahon wrote. "That's a lot of 9-year-olds passionate about throwing snowballs."

Best took up the cause when he learned about the law during a field trip to town hall this fall, according to the Greeley Tribune. Kyle Rietkerk, the assistant to the Severance town administrator, told the newspaper that staffers often mention the snowball ban to young visitors.

"All of the kids always get blown away that it's illegal to have snowball fights in Severance," Rietkerk said. "So, what ends up happening is they always encourage the kids with, 'You have the power you can change the law.' No one has."

But Best took aim at the law, enlisting his elementary school classmates to write letters to the board. He and his family also researched laws in Severance, as he prepared for his presentation.

The board had its own questions for the snowball-fight enthusiast. According to the Tribune, Trustee Dennis "Zeke" Kane wondered, "Can we amend this ordinance to say that if you're over 60, no one can throw a snowball at you?"

Best satisfied other, more serious, questions, agreeing with the board that kids should not throw snowballs with rocks in them — and that they should not target windows.

In the end, the trustees voted unanimously to agree with Best and overturn the ban, sparking a celebration in the town board chamber.

Afterward, Mayor Don McLeod met Best and other attendees outside, where he gave the boy the honor of throwing the first legal snowball within town limits. The second throw went to Best's younger brother Dax — whom Dane has identified as his preferred opponent.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.