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5 Things To Know About Charlotte's '24 Hours Of Booty'

Charlotte's annual 24 Hours of Booty is this weekend. The streets of Charlotte's Myers Park neighborhood will be squeezed by packs of cyclists and walkers participating in the charity event, which raises money for cancer research and support services.

This year's charity ride kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at the corner of Queens Road West and Wellesley Avenue and continues through 7 p.m. Saturday. Not sure what all the fuss is about? Here are five things to know about the annual event.

1. It was founded in 2002 by Charlottean Spencer Lueders

The inaugural ride was held in 2002 when Charlotte attorney Spencer Lueders felt called to raise awareness for cancer. He told WFAE that cancer hadn't directly touched his family, but he "didn't want to wait around for something to happen."

That November, he decided to raise money while riding the streets around Queens University for 24 hours.

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Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE
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WFAE
Spencer Lueders

He planned to ride solo, but as he later recounted to the CharlotteFive Podcast, several people joined him on the inaugural ride.

The result left him inspired to turn the 24-hour ride into an annual event, which has grown to include well over 1,000 cyclists and hundreds of walkers in recent years.

2. It's unclear how the "Booty Loop" got its name

The three-mile loop around Queens University is affectionately known by cyclists as the "Booty Loop," but the origins of the name are uncertain.

Some have guessed it comes from all the derrieres that toil away as their owners peddle or jog up and down the gentle slopes around the university.

Lueders told The Charlotte Observer in 2003 that the farthest back he could trace the name was to 1992, when a group of cyclists from Eastover decided to try out the Myers Park roads and were delighted by the number of fit Queens College students and other runners - hence, "The Booty Loop."

However the name came to exist, it's been embraced as an asset by the annual charity ride. It grabs attention and adds quirky flavor to the event.

3. You don't have to bike the full 24 hours

Some riders will bike the loop for 24 hours with only occasional breaks, but many others will form relay teams, or just bike as long as they can.

Organizers stress that it's a charity ride - not a race - so participants can ride or walk as much or as little as they like. As the 24 Foundation's website reads, "how far you want to ride or walk is up to you and how far your inspiration takes you!"

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Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE
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WFAE
Participants dressed as superheroes at the start of the 24 Hours of Booty 2019.

Participants are only asked to meet a fundraising minimum (between $50 and $400, depending on the participant's age) in order to take part.

4. The event has expanded to other cities

Charlotte remains the event's birthplace, but the event has spred to other cities over the past two decades.

The charity ride first expanded into Columbia, South Carolina, in 2008, and later spred to Baltimore, Atlanta, and Indianapolis.

This year, organizers are focusing only on Charlotte and Indianapolis, which held it's 2019 ride on June 26-27. There, the event is known as 24 Indianapolis (or 24 Indy).

5. The event has raised more than $21 million for cancer survivorship

Since the event's inception in 2002, it's raised more than $21 million for a number of cancer charities and other organizations. Money raised through this year's event will go toward the Levine Cancer Institute, the Levine Children's Hospital, Queens University of Charlotte, the LIVESTRONG Foundation, and other nonprofits.

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Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE
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WFAE

The 24 Foundation has a list of its beneficiaries (in both Charlotte and Indianapolis) on their website.

Organizers also say this year's race will include over 1,100 cyclists and walkers. Happy pedaling!

Corrected July 27, 2019 - An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Spencer Lueders last name as Leuders.