LIBERTY — Historically, children born on Feb. 29, referred to Leap Day because it comes only in leap years, are surprisingly hard to come by. Labeled leaplings, there are about 187,000 people total who were born on Leap Day in the United States.

This year, Liberty Hospital had three births. One of those babies who leaped into the world is Atlas Clayton Hoye. His parents, Clayton Hoye and Keira Benson, expected to be at the hospital the first week of March, but little Atlas had other ideas.

“My water broke on Friday evening,” Benson said. “We came in to see if it was a go and at 4:11 a.m., Atlas came into the world.”

Clayton said his brother predicted the baby would be born Feb. 29 while Benson said she was going to be induced before her official due date of March 8.

Atlas is the first child for both and was 6 pounds, 5 ounces and 19 inches in length at birth.

“We wanted his name to be unique,” Benson said.

“When we were looking, Atlas means maps, but it was also the Titan who challenged Zeus and ended up holding the heavens,” the father said.

As the parents sat in their hospital room March 2 before the family was discharged, the couple discussed how they will celebrate their son’s birthday.

“I know we are going to always go all out,” Clayton said, “but I bet we are going to go above and beyond when the next Leap Day rolls around.”

Benson said she excepts they will celebrate their son’s birthday on March 1 most years.

While Leap Day may be characterized by a frog, the parents are huge Star Wars fans, opting for their son’s first outfit to be a baby Yoda costume complete with lightsaber made by Benson’s cousin.

“When Atlas is around 6 or 7, we are going to go to Galaxy’s Edge in Florida,” the father said. “It’s been a good year. We had our son in 2020 and the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.”

Atlas is the first grandson on Benson’s side of the family. Her sisters are mothers to girls. Atlas is the first grandchild on the Hoye side.

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at or 389-6630.

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