What Do You Call 2,326 Kyles in One Place? A World Record.

May 26, 2023

Is your name Kyle?

If it is, you might have a shot at the record books.

The city of Kyle, Texas, is calling all Kyles, from anywhere in the world, to join their similarly named brethren at a fair this month. The assignment: Snatch the world record for the largest meeting of people with the same first name, set in 2017, when 2,325 men called Ivan gathered in a town in Bosnia.

The gathering of Kyles, from May 19 to 21, will be the city’s first ever Kyle Fair. Previous gatherings of Kyles have taken place during the city’s annual Pie in the Sky celebration, which focuses on its status as the pie capital of Texas. But the new fair this year is dedicated solely to Kyles knocking Ivans out of the record books.

“We need tall Kyles, short Kyles, young Kyles and old Kyles,” the city announced in April.

“We have had inquiries from all over,” said Claudia Rocha, the city’s events planner. “I just had an inquiry from Great Britain.”

Kyle, about 20 miles south of Austin, has been advertising for weeks. A promotional video featured actors from Austin in cowboy hats and rocking chairs, talking about the event. Subtitles were provided for “non-natives,” or outsiders who don’t speak “Texan.”

On the city’s Facebook page, Kyles tagged other Kyles. Friends and family tagged Kyles they knew. Some asked if variants, like Kylle and Cyle, or middle and family names were allowed.

“Does Kyle as a last name count?” wrote Stephanie Kyle hopefully. “This sounds like a blast!”

There were even Kyle wannabes.

“I identify as a Kyle. Does that count?” wrote Roy Daniel Weaver.

An 11,000-strong community of Kyles on Reddit, known as a “place for Kyles and Kyle enthusiasts,” shared links to the Texas event, seeking car pools and spreading the word.

“My fellow brothers, it is now our time!” a Kyle wrote.

And no, pets named Kyle would not be counted.

Ms. Rocha said Kyles must spell their name K-Y-L-E, and have identification to prove it. Underage Kyles are welcome if a parent can vouch for them.

In previous years, about 100 or fewer Kyles showed up. Ms. Rocha said it was not clear how many Kyles would appear this time because preregistration was not required.

“All they have to do is show up,” she said.

Officials hope that Kyle pride is strong, and that it will cross borders, genders and state lines to put the city on the map. What the city gains in Kyles, it hopes to translate into stature.

“We love the fact that the branding of this event is the branding of our town name,” said Kyle’s mayor, Travis Mitchell, who coincidentally once lived in Travis County, in south-central Texas.

The name Kyle has Scottish origins. Fergus Kyle, a settler in the 1880s, helped establish Kyle, Texas, which has grown to about 50,000 residents. The name is on a flower shop, an animal hospital, a chiropractic center, a senior center, a coffee shop, a church and Lake Kyle Park, where the official counting of the Kyles will take place on May 21.

Kyle ER & Hospital, on Kyle Center Drive, is near Kyle Vision, an eye-care center, and Kyle Parkway, where Ascension Seton Hays Hospital celebrated newborns named Kyle.

“Back when I was there, any kiddo named Kyle born at the hospital got a specific certificate saying ‘Welcome to Kyle,’” said Sarah Watson, a former city events manager.

In the United States, Kyle has never been exceedingly popular. The government has released lists of the 200 most popular baby names since the 1880s, based on Social Security card application data. Kyle first appeared on the list in the 1960s, at No. 169, and peaked at No. 24 in the ’90s before slipping to No. 172 in the 2010s.

Kyle is less common for girls. A variant, Kylie, was the 72nd most popular name as of 2020, but it was less common than in the previous decade.

Nevertheless, as some Kyles will tell you, Kyle is not just a name. It’s a lifestyle. Just as the name Karen has become associated with an entitled busybody, memes portray Kyles as aggressive young men who like Monster Energy drinks and Axe body spray and who let out their rage by punching drywall.

“Though our name is what connects us, there is a whole lot more we have in common,” said Kyle Miller, 31, a host of “The Only Kyles Show,” a comedic podcast that examines what it means to be named, you guessed it, Kyle.

“You have the stereotypes of Monsters and stuff, but I would say our group has promoted those stereotypes,” Mr. Miller said. “There has always been the ‘Kyle punches drywall’ joke. It is one of those things in pop culture that popped up. Kyles, in general, tend to be short-tempered, and when they are displeased, instead of harming others, they just break something.”

In 2021, a Facebook group devoted to Kyles — whose members strive “to become the best Kyle we can be” — planned a trip to Kyle for a “KyleKon” meeting during the city’s annual fair. When the fair was canceled because of the pandemic, the Kyles who were already there celebrated anyway with sledgehammers and spray paint.

“We went to a rage room where you smash stuff,” said Kyle Wildenberg. “We actually bought a car to destroy. It was a white Camry or something, whatever they pulled out of the junkyard.”

Apparently, the lure of smashing a world record is not as appealing: Mr. Wildenberg said the group would not be returning to Kyle this year. They have already planned their 2023 KyleKon for Orlando, Fla., where, some joke, there will be no need for name tags.

Officials in Kyle are still hoping their city will be stuffed with Kyles at this month’s fair.

One will be Kyle Banks, 15, a high school sophomore from Cibolo, Texas. His family has gone to Kyle fairs every year since he was in the fourth grade so that he could hang out with other Kyles.

“They would do goofy stuff, like say ‘Hey, Kyle’ and see how many people turn around,” said Kyle, who is named after Kyle Field, the home of Texas A&M University’s football team.

Even if the Kyles unseat the Ivans of Bosnia, other cities in Texas could snatch the record away next year. Texas has more than two dozen cities with names commonly given to people, like Leonard, Anna, Josephine and Austin, the state capital.

If a challenge were to come from the city of Austin, Kyle Taylor, the chief of the Kyle Fire Department who oversees two firefighters named Kyle, said he could help, even though he would be betraying his loyalties.

“I have a firefighter named Austin I can lend them,” he said.