The rain and mud did not stop approximately 1,800 people, with one thing in common, from making a pilgrimage to the Texas city of Kyle in an attempt to break a world record.
On May 21, the city of Kyle hosted the final day of its three-day-longKyle Fair. Upon first glance, the fair might have appeared no different from countless other community summer celebrations that take place around the country with live music, fireworks, food and drinks, but the final day held something more unique in store: a call to action. It was a call to Kyles across the nation and globe to join together in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the most people with the same name in the same place at the same time.
The record to beat was set in 2017 with 2,325 Ivans gathering together in Kupreski Kosci in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to The Guinness World Record’swebsite.
This was the fourth time the City of Kyle had attempted to overtake the Ivan record with the men — and women — who shared the town’s name, City of Kyle Communications Director Rachel Sonnier said as she took a break from verifying the authenticity of Kyles in attendance.
“We tried it the first time in 2017 with our annual Pie in the Sky [Celebration],” Sonnier said. “This is our first year back since COVID and this is our biggest year yet already.”
What made this attempt stand out from the others, Sonnier said, was the full dedication that the city made in promoting the event.
“We wrote a bunch of press releases, we reached out to all of our press contacts and the word just spread like wildfire,” Sonnier said. “I’ll just say the Kyles helped spread the word probably more than anyone. I’ve seen memes, I’ve seen Tiktoks, so I feel that’s where it also got out.”
As the yearly event continues to grow, the town itself has followed suit, according tothe U.S. Census Bureau’s data. In 2010, the city had a population of 28,016 but has since grown to a 2022 estimated population of 57,470. Sonnier said this rapid growth is due to several factors.
“We are definitely considered a boom town right now,” Sonnier said. “It’s the whole I-35 corridor. Kyle’s just been extra hit because we were a very small community in 2000. We only had about 5,000 people. … And honestly, it has to do with a lot of people moved to Texas during the pandemic.”
While the verification and counting of Kyles continued and took place for more than an hour after the scheduled cut-off time, Kyles in attendance joined together in shared camaraderie.
One such instance of this was when Kyle Gordon, a Tiktok comedian with 2.9 million followers who goes by the username @Kylegordonisgreat, gave a rousing speech to his fellow Kyles he had written during his flight from New York on his way to the event.
“With this magnificent display of our power, I am officially declaring today not only the gathering of the Kyles, but the rising of the Kyles,” Gordon said. “Kyle is strong. Kyle is Sexy. Kyle is really super smart actually. … So, join me brother Kyles and take up this fight.”
After the speech concluded and the chants of “Kyle” died down, Gordon said he had felt a calling to come to the event.
“I came here from New York because I just felt it was my duty as a Kyle to support my brothers and show our strength, our power and our beauty,” Gordon said. “I think it’s every Kyles’ duty to come [to the City of Kyle] at least once in their life. As much as I come back, I’m thinking about moving here.”
Chants of “Kyle” once again rose from the crowd that had gathered around a small tent to hear Gordon speak, but this time they were for a different Kyle who was holding a piece of drywall as another Kyle punched through it.
This act of destruction was not done in anger but was actually set up as a fundraiser, Kyle Jack the founder of the Kingdom of Kyles, an online organization, said. He said it is based on an old online trope and meme that portrays people named Kyle drinking monster, getting angry and punching holes in the wall. He said he and his fellow Kyles decided to have people pay to punch drywall and have all the proceeds go to planting trees.
“[Punching drywall] could be a negative stereotype,” Jack said. “But every Kyle that joins, starting pretty much this Friday, that’s one tree pledge. I think we have had 100 Kyles so far. That’s 100 trees planted.”
Despite falling some 500 Kyles short of setting the new record, Sonnier said the event had already been a success before the counting began.
“We’re just really glad that we’ve had this great of a turnout for our first annual Kyle Fair,” Sonnier said. "We hope that we’ll see a similar one next year.”
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