During the winter, when it snows, what are some things that you like to do? Build a snowman? Snowball fights, perhaps? This might be the case for us in New York City, but not for citizens of Severance, Colorado... until now.
Severance is a small town located in Northern Colorado, 64 miles north of Denver. It turns out that previously, snowball fights were banned in Severance for almost a century. It might sound silly because snowball fights are fun and harmless. According to the Greeley Tribune, nobody knows the exact reason why this law was formed.
Marco Fennell, XIIIs, tried to guess why and joked, “Because some cranky politician got hit with a snowball one too many times.”
However, Kyle Rietkerk, the assistant to the Severance Town Administrator, said that there is a special rule that states that it is illegal to shoot stones or missiles at people, animals, buildings, trees and any other property in Severance. It turned out that snowballs fell under the town’s “missile” category.
The exact definition of a missile is: “an object which is forcibly propelled at a target, either by hand or from a mechanical weapon.” If this is true, does that mean that balls are banned too?
“Throwing a ball of mildly frozen water no more than three inches in diameter can barely be comparable to someone launching a 30-foot tall explosive war mechanism,” said Bryan Lau, XIIIs, explaining that a snowball is far different from a destructive missile.
No one focused too much on this law in the past, and certainly nobody has brought it to the Town hall’s attention.
“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.”
No one until a boy named Dane Best came along.
Dane Best is a nine-year-old boy and resident of Severance who convinced the Severance Town Board to lift the ban of snowball fights. His school, Range View Elementary School, took a field trip to visit the Severance Town Hall. The students were informed about the way the Town Hall worked and Severance’s special rules, the ban of snowball fights being one of them. When Dane learned about this law, he found it ridiculous and made it his job to change it.
“I think it’s an outdated law,” Dane said. “I want to be able to throw a snowball without getting in trouble.”
On December 3, 2018, Dane was prepared with a Powerpoint presentation. He presented a list of reasons why the Severance Town Board should lift the snowball fight ban at Severance Town Hall. His classmates at Range View Elementary helped out by writing letters in support of the change. After listening carefully to his reasoning, the Severance Town Board was convinced and the vote was unanimous.
“If we actually had snow on the ground, we could throw the first legal snowball ever,” Rietkerk said.
He was wrong. Dane had already beaten him to it.
“I didn’t know it was [against] the law, though,” Dane said with a laugh.
It is great that, now, people in Severance can enjoy the fun of a snowball fight without worrying about breaking the law. And they owe it all to Dane, the nine year old boy who was brave enough to bring this problem to the Town Board’s attention and stand up for his solution.
“Its inspiring because someone so young made so much change,” said Copey Rollins, XIsJ.
Sources: Greeley Tribune, Newsela