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US town overturns 98-year-old ban on snowball fights after campaign led by nine-year-old boy

Indy 100 logo Indy 100 06/12/2018 Tim Wyatt
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A Colorado town has overturned its 98-year-old ban on snowball fights after a campaign led by a nine-year-old boy.

Severance, a small 3,000-strong community nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, had included snowballs in its rules outlawing throwing any "missiles".

Officials believe the ban has stood since the town was founded, almost a century ago.

But when Dane Best, a 9-year-old who lives in the town, found out about the longstanding ordinance, he decided to do something about it.

Encouraged by his mother, the tenacious child launched a campaign to persuade the town's council to create an exception for throwing snowballs.

"I think it’s an outdated law,” Dane said in the lead-up to the meeting. “I want to be able to throw a snowball without getting in trouble.”

On Monday, after he made his case at the meeting, the council voted to lift the ban, allowing Severance youths to splatter each other with snow without fear of the legal consequences.

In fact, the town board had been keen to abolish the prohibition – which was never enforced – for years.

Kyle Rietkerk, the assistant to the Severance town administrator, said the mayor mentioned the ban every time school children made their annual field trip visit to his office.

“All of the kids always get blown away that it’s illegal to have snowball fights in Severance,” Mr 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.”

Dane's mother, Brooke Best, told the local newspaper her son had prepared exhaustively ahead of his bid to change the law.

As well as learning how local government worked, he also researched other odd Severance ordinances, including one which defined pets solely as dogs and cats, technically rendering his guinea pig illegal.

“We didn’t know that, at his age, he could even have a voice in the community,” Ms Best said. “So that’s been pretty cool.”

And after Dane's success in changing the law, his younger brother Dax, aged only four, has been told to watch out.

When the town's leaders asked Dane who he wanted to throw the first legal snowball at when this year's snow arrives, he turned and pointed at his four-year-old sibling.

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