98-year snowball fight ban ends in small northern Colorado town after 9-year-old’s presentation
SEVERANCE — Dane Best, 9, took tough questions from members of the Severance Town Board on Monday night when he presented a list of reasons why they should repeal a ban on snowball fights.
“Can we amend this ordinance to say that if you’re over 60, no one can throw a snowball at you?” asked Trustee Dennis “Zeke” Kane.
Trustee Michelle Duda posed this question: “If we do enact snowball fighting, have you talked to your fellow students about safety issues?”
Dane, who has been working on a presentation for the town board for the past month, was prepared. He doesn’t plan to throw snowballs with rocks inside of them at anyone, he said, and he’d never throw a snowball at a window.
“The children of Severance want the opportunity to have a snowball fight like the rest of the world,” he said during his presentation. “The law was created many years ago. Today’s kids need a reason to play outside.”
His three-minute presentation worked.
Severance Town Board officially made snowball fights within town limits legal after Dane asked the board to repeal the ordinance, which town officials think is as old as the town itself, founded in 1920.
The rule is part of a larger ordinance that prevented people from throwing missiles or stones at people or property, and the ban wasn’t enforced in Severance. But after learning about the ordinance on a field trip this fall, Dane wanted to change it anyway.
Dane’s presentation Monday was filled with an audience of children and their parents, who cheered when they heard the news.
Just minutes later, when the ban officially ended, Mayor Don McLeod stepped outside with two snowballs. Dane and his little brother, Dax, 4, threw the first legal snowballs in Severance history.
After the meeting, Dane and Dax’s grandfather, Rick Best, stood back and took in the scene as Dane and his parents took questions from reporters. He thought about how much Dane has learned about local government, and how many kids might think about getting involved themselves.
“He’s always been timid and bashful, so when he told me he was doing that, I said, ‘Good for you, Daners,’ especially at this age now, to be able to do that,” he said. “Because his grandpa couldn’t.”
— Sara Knuth covers government for The Tribune. You can reach her at (970) 392-4412, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SaraKnuth.