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Some locals grow by leaps and bounds

Pendleton residents with Feb. 29 birthdays take various approaches to quadrennial celebrations
Antonio Sierra

East Oregonian

Published on February 29, 2016 8:12PM

Last changed on February 29, 2016 8:51PM

Trenton Ellis, 8, who was born on a leap year, stands on a swing at while playing at Community Park on Friday in Pendleton.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

Trenton Ellis, 8, who was born on a leap year, stands on a swing at while playing at Community Park on Friday in Pendleton.

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Trenton Ellis of Pendleton leaps from lilly pads to lilly pad while playing at Community Park on Friday in Pendleton.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

Trenton Ellis of Pendleton leaps from lilly pads to lilly pad while playing at Community Park on Friday in Pendleton.

Buy this photo

Trenton Ellis wasn’t supposed to be a leap day baby.

Watching her 8-year-old son bounce around the Community Park playground in Pendleton Friday, Andrea Ellis said Trenton was born two weeks earlier than expected, although he still arrived at a robust 8 pounds, 2 ounces on Feb. 29, 2008.

Ellis was one of only two babies born at St. Anthony Hospital on that day, which only comes around once every four years, and three in the county altogether.

Leap Day birthdays aren’t just a rarity in Eastern Oregon, but for the population at large.

Peter Brouwer, co-founder of the Honor Society Leap Year Day Babies, told The Daily Mail that the chances of being born on Feb. 29 are one in 1,461. Brouwer also estimated that there were 200,000 leaplings in the United States and about 5 million internationally.

Because the leap year baby club is relatively exclusive, the Ellises have figured out their own routine for their second born.

On years when February is 28 days, Andrea and her husband, Daniel, pick a day when they’re not both working to celebrate Trenton’s birthday.

This year, both Daniel and Andrea worked their jobs at Wildhorse Resort & Casino on Monday, meaning Trenton’s birthday party with his family will have to wait until Tuesday — the first day of March.

Cody Cimmiyotti, a bartender and a 24-year-old leapling, treats the date of birthday celebrations even more liberally.

Growing up, Cimmiyotti said non-leap year birthday parties tended to fall on whatever weekend was closest to his hypothetical birthday.

Although his legal birthday is Feb. 29, 1992, Cimmiyotti said the government places his birthday on March 1during non-leap years.

Cimmiyotti said leap years have their perks. This year, he was able to get a free drink at Starbucks and celebrate his birthday with his family on its actual day.

While Cimmiyotti marked his birthday with a family dinner, Trenton Ellis has a slightly more elaborate request.

Trenton’s grandmother, Raylene, used to teach cooking classes at Pendleton High School, which left her with the cake pans and know-how to make customized cakes for all her grandchildren.

Trenton’s request? A police car Transformers cake.

“He’s the MVP of Team Ellis this month,” Raylene said.

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Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.



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