Best of KC 2022: Bolton boots it to the beat, goes viral
This month, we published The Pitch’s annual Best of Kansas City issue. You can browse the results of the readers’ poll here. The issue also included a list, compiled and written by our editorial staff, of some of our current favorite things about Kansas City in 2022. We’ll be publishing these items online throughout November.
Amber “AJ” Bolton, the viral queen of rhythm skating, is the vibe KC needed this year. Five years ago, Bolton was inspired by a YouTube inline skater to chase her dreams and began taking her craft to the next level.
Bolton started hitting area skateparks hard, especially Schweitzer Park, and later became a regular at Winnwood Skate Center, honing her skills through hours and hours of practice.
Her groove and precision have earned millions of views across her social media accounts. She has gained over 50,000 Instagram followers, thousands of upvotes on Reddit posts, and even a sponsorship from Riedell. When Bolton is not out there vibing on the pavement, she also teaches lessons and has a passion for pole dancing.
Like many of us, Bolton was led to pursue her passions with an added vigor in part due to the isolation of the pandemic. She found that rhythm skating helped with her anxiety, offering an outlet for her emotions in a community that was continuing to gain a following over the quarantine years and beyond.
Since her initial rise, Bolton has made it a point to give back to that very same community. She hosted her first workshop on her birthday in 2021 and has inspired many social media fans and local admirers to purchase their first set of skates.
“I was excited to share my creativity and content with others,” Bolton says. “Being a part of the skate community is important to me. When I saw the growth of the community, I felt like I was a part of a moving force.”