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Kyles travel for miles to try and break a Guinness World Record

Update: Though Kyles gathered in Kyle on Saturday, they fell short of breaking the record for the largest same-name gathering. There were 706 Kyles in attendance, but the number to beat was 2,325.

If your name is Kyle, a festival in Kyle, Texas, has your name all over it.

“What better excuse to meet other people with the best first name in the world,” said Kyle Lawrence.

Lawrence is traveling from Los Angeles to Kyle this week to attend the “Gathering of the Kyles,” the city’s annual attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest same-name gathering.

The current title belongs to Kupres, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where 2,325 people named Ivan gathered on July 30, 2017. That same year Kyle hosted its annual city festival, with a funny photo opportunity for people with names that sounded like "Kyle." Kylies and Kylers gathered with Kyles for the picture.

Over time, the joke became exclusive to people named Kyle, spelled that way and first name only, and the city began its attempt to beat the world record.

Last year, Kyles from 49 states gathered in Kyle and totaled 1,490. It's the closest the city has come to breaking the record, but the group still fell short by 836 Kyles.

What makes a Kyle?

Lawrence said he’s excited to see Kyles from all walks of life. He also hopes to see if some stereotypes hold up.

“Kyle drinks Monsters and punches holes in drywall,” he said, referencing a comedian who portrayed a person named Kyle and went viral online.

Travis Mitchell, the mayor of Kyle, said the city has embraced this persona of a "Kyle" at the festival.

"We have a little fun with it. We enjoy it, so we have drywall punching," he said. "That's an event here, you can come and punch some drywall."

Lawrence said he doesn't fit that mold. He thinks, in general, Kyle cultural references are lacking.

“There’s the South Park character Kyle… the only other one is Kyle Richards from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," he said. "That would be awesome if she went.”

Growing up, Lawrence rarely got picked on for his name. He said it couldn't really be spun into a nickname and wasn't long enough to mispronounce, so it often went unnoticed. The name goes so under the radar, he said, that he’s never met a successful person named Kyle.

“It’s relaxed and easygoing… I wouldn’t say high-achieving,” he said. “I just want to live comfortably, I guess I have a lazy name.”

Lawrence hopes to meet some older, thriving Kyles this week who can mentor him and hopefully change his mind about his namesake.

“I’m definitely interested in making friends and just seeing what kind of trouble we can all get into,” he said. “I hope the local authorities are on standby.”

Come one, come 2,326 to Kyle, Texas

The Gathering of the Kyles is part of the city’s Kyle Fair, including a carnival, live music and several competitions for the best margaritas, fajitas and ribs. Rachel Sonnier, communications director for the City of Kyle, said last year's event was larger than they expected. They even had international Kyles show up.

“We had people from Australia and Germany,” she said. “So we’re really hoping to get a lot of people out this year again.”

Sonnier said she’s seen lots of Kyles in her lifetime, definitely more than the average person, and she’s noticed one thing they all have in common: enthusiasm.

“They looked like they were always having fun, even when they were just waiting for the drone to take a photo for five minutes,” she said. “They’re a fun group of people, a good time.”

And when Kyles come to town, they often bring their friends and family, which Sonnier said is great for the city’s local businesses.

“Even if they don’t stay directly in the City of Kyle, they still eat here and will shop a bit, even just gassing up their cars and things like that,” she said.

The event is free to attend and Kyles of all ages are welcome. Participants must show proof of ID, and parents or guardians may vouch for the participant if they’re underage.

The Gathering of the Kyles will launch its official Guinness World Record count at the Kyle Arena at 1 p.m. on Saturday. All Kyles must check in and register by 12:30 p.m. to be included in the official count.

Maya Fawaz is KUT's Hays County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @mayagfawaz.
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