How A 9-Year-Old Helped End A Ban On Snowball Fights In His Colorado Town

Dec 7, 2018
Originally published on December 7, 2018 7:23 pm
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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

For some, throwing a snowball or two on a cold winter day is a yearly tradition. But in Severance, Colo...

DANE BEST: We just didn't know it was illegal to have a snowball fight.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

That is 9-year-old Dane Best. He took a school field trip to town hall and discovered there was a law against throwing snowballs, a law nearly a hundred years old.

CHANG: So he gathered his classmates to write letters about changing the law. And this week, he made his case in front of the town's Board of Trustees.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DANE: I'm here today to hopefully change the law about throwing snowballs. I feel this is an outdated law. The law was created many years ago. Kids want to have snowball fights without breaking the law. Kids want to have a voice in our town.

KELLY: Kyle Rietkerk is assistant to the town's administrator. He says Best isn't the first to find this law unfair.

KYLE RIETKERK: We've had kids write letters. We had kids, like, call us. But to do it, you have to come to a public forum for it to be able to go through.

CHANG: Which had not happened until Best gave a pretty convincing PowerPoint presentation.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Sounds like you've just changed the law, buddy.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

DANE: I was pretty excited. Everyone was clapping. I can't wait for it to snow.

KELLY: After the hearing, Best and his younger brother Dax got to throw the first two legal snowballs in town with snow that Rietkerk had found the day before.

DANE: And he kept it in the freezer. And my little brother got to throw one, too.

CHANG: And, yeah, while there are still some concerns about safety, Rietkerk says the law's safety clauses are intact.

RIETKERK: If you put a rock in a snowball, you're still throwing a rock, and that is still illegal.

CHANG: (Laughter).

RIETKERK: Well, while throwing snowballs is now legal in Severance, Best may want to turn his attention to working on some other quirky town laws like one that makes his pet guinea pig Snickers technically illegal. Apparently in Severance, they have a very strict definition of pet. Think dog. Think cat.

DANE: I feel like I'm breaking the law again.

CHANG: That's 9-year-old Dane Best.

DANE: It doesn't matter how old you are. You can have a voice in your town.

KELLY: A voice that this week persuaded people to make it legal to throw snowballs in Severance, Colo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.