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Snowball fights used to be illegal in one Colorado town -- until a boy challenged the law

Snowball fights were illegal in the small town of Severance in Weld County, but that changed Monday night after a third-grade boy went before the town board to fight for a change.

SEVERANCE — Rejoice and let the fighting begin! Snowball fights are no longer illegal in the small town of Severance in Weld County after a young boy went before the town board to challenge an ordinance.

Before Monday night it had been illegal to throw snowballs in the town. Under section 10-5-80 of the municipal code, it was illegal to have a snowball fight. It read: "It is unlawful for any person to throw or shoot any stone or any other missile upon or at any person, animal, building, tree or other public or private property; or at or against any vehicle or equipment designed for the transportation of persons or property.”

Older municipal code books that were still in use specifically defined a snowball as a missile, according to the Kyle Rietkerk, assistant to the Town Administrator.

"It means my friends and I cannot have a snowball fight without breaking the law," said Dane Best, a third-grade student at Range View Elementary School, who pushed for the change.

Rietkerk said the town has wanted to change the code for a while, and for the past 2-3 years has encouraged visiting students to come to the board and ask for the change. This year, Best decided enough was enough. He made his first plea before the town board on Nov. 5 and returned on Monday night to make his case.

"Today's kids need reasons to play outside research suggests that a lack of exposure to the outside can lead to obesity ADHD anxiety and depression. Kids want to have snowball fights without breaking the law," Best argued before the board on Monday.

Board members voted unanimously to remove the section that defined snowballs as a missile. It's unclear why they were defined that way in the first place.

"As far as anyone here at the town hall knows, and this is going back about 30 to 40 years, that rule has been in effect since the start of the Town," Kyle Rietkerk, assistant to the Town Administrator told 9NEWS by email.

Severance was founded in 1906, according to the Town's website, and had enough residents to become an official municipal corporation in 1920.

Severance's population as of 2017 was 4,275, according to the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau. It's unclear to those who live in the town now why throwing snowballs was outlawed.

"Started off we were a very small farming community," Rietkerk said. "Could be they didn't want kids throwing snowballs at cattle."

No one in the town can recall anyone actually being punished for throwing a snowball in recent years, but others have faced fines under the same code for throwing things like rocks, Rietkerk said.

"Thanks for finally bringing it to us, " said Mayor Pro Tem Matt Gordon at the November meeting. "Kids should have snowball fights."

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