Ashton Rein Williams Reigns as the 2018 ArkansasQHA Queen, the 1st in over 20 years

October 17th, 2018 4:56 PM | 1 Comment

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By: Barbara Aitken Jenkins

Ashton Rein Williams love for horses is in her blood and in her name. Born to parents who love the sport of Reining, Ashton inherited the name Rein to represent her family’s passion. Her family’s passion developed into a committed lifestyle and love for Ashton. Throughout her younger years, Ashton spent countless weekends in arena dirt where her parents, Rhonda and Greg Williams participated in state associations including the Arkansas Reining Horse Association, Arkansas Quarter Horse Association, and Central Horse Show Association, a member of the Arkansas State Championship Horse Show Association. It was through these associations and her parents’ support Ashton learned to love riding.

Through her years growing up in Arkansas’ horse industry, Ashton’s horse show family has watched her grow into an accomplished young horsewoman with multiple top ten and wins in the arena.

Four years ago, Ashton chose to attend her one and only choose for higher education, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where she is pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Communication with a Minor in Agribusiness. Ashton is no ordinary student. In the middle of her freshman year, U of A started the Arkansas Ranch Horse Team where Ashton is now the only four-year Senior and has to lead her team to two National Championships in Division II athletics.

“My mom graduated from U of A. It’s the state’s big school and I am proud to be a Hog,” Ashton describes of her pride of the university.

“It’s been so incredible to watch the Ranch Horse Team grow into a competitive team with nine members this year and we are even big enough now to move to Division I!”

2018 marks a monumental year for Ashton and her equestrian career. In January of this year, she was crowned the 2018 Arkansas Quarter Horse Association Queen. Last week, Ashton represented the Natural State in the All American Quarter Horse Congress Queens Contest, at the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio. Ashton’s reign has been like no other this year as she is Arkansas’ first queen in over twenty years.

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The Congress Queen’s Contest is a long-running tradition for the quarter horse industry. The All American Quarter Horse Congress, hosted by the Ohio Quarter Horse Association brings exhibitors, spectators, and contestants alike from across the world for the month-long event. From Reining, Cutting, and Roping, to Western Pleasure, Western Riding, and Trail, the Congress brings approximately 25,000 entries, and over 5,000 horses to Columbus each year.

The Queen’s Contest ran from October 9-13th, where the winner, Taylor Foster, from Indiana was crowned during the intermission of the NRHA Congress Freestyle Reining event.

Ashton, along with her fellow contestants participated in an oral interview, written test, and horsemanship.


Judging will be based on the following criteria:


Judged by outstanding people in the field on candidate’s poise, appearance, and personality. Candidates will also be judged for interview based on an impromptu question and 1-minute speech at the Welcome Reception on Tuesday evening. The 1-minute speech is to be rehearsed and well-prepared by each candidate to introduce themselves to the group and tell about the association that they are representing. Points will be deducted for any contestant going over 1 minute.


Knowledge of horses and the breed. All questions will be taken from the current year’s AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations.


Judged by a panel of judges. The class will consist of performing a pattern and rail work; balance of the class at judges’ discretion to prove superior horsemanship.


All candidates will be given a score in each portion of the contest that will determine the overall results. Top ten medallions will be given out, however, overall results are  based on total points earned, not top ten placings.

Additional awards will be presented for Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic.


The Congress queen is an intricate part of the Congress as she is the face of the show where she presents top ten awards and the coveted Congress Bronze to the lucky winners. Like the numerous winners of years past, the 2019 Congress Queen, Taylor Foster will represent the quarter horse industry by traveling across the country to various AQHA shows, acting as a representative of the quarter horse breed, the Congress and ultimately being a positive role model for the next generation of horse enthusiasts. 

As the ArQHA queen, Ashton brought light to the Arkansas horse show industry in a multitude of ways. From carrying the American Flag at Arkansas Central Horse Show Association shows and the Arkansas State Championship Show to handing out awards at the AQHA Youth World Show in Oklahoma City, Ashton’s representation of the ArQHA and Arkansas has been second to none. In addition to attending horse shows, Ashton had the pleasure of visiting the renowned Arkansas Children’s Hospital as well.

“It was an honor to be in the state where my namesake, the National Reining Horse Association, was founded,” Ashton said.

“My trip to Congress was a dream come true!! I could not have asked for a better experience during the Congress Queen Contest. All of the ladies competing were smart, multi-talented, and a joy to be around. The “Queen Team” of directors made each of us feel special and like true queens. I was humbled to be in the presence of so many influential men and women in the horse industry that I got to meet through the contest.

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The three areas of competition were unlike any I had done before. The horsemanship class was as competitive as I have ever competed against. The Test was over the AQHA Official Handbook and Congress website, It was the hardest test I have ever studied for. I re-wrote the entire book, paraphrasing each section. We were tested on everything from the mission statement, fees, class descriptions, fence heights, penalties, to Congress Hall of Fame members. The interview panel was in was intimidating yet very friendly and welcoming. I enjoyed sharing a little about myself with them in the ten minutes we shared.”  

She continued, “The night of the Crowning was all in slow motion. My goal was to be top five in each of the three areas of competition. I never imagined I would finish third on the test, third in horsemanship, and Champion interview!! Placing 1st Runner Up to an amazing young lady that will represent OQHA and the Congress so well, and it was was an honor to stand next to her.

As for Ashon’s feelings as she returned home to the Natural State, she simply stated, “I am so pleased to have represented Arkansas for the first time in twenty years, and just like my pre-assessor, becoming home as First Runner Up. My reign as ArQHA Queen will continue as this week I am participating in the Homecoming Parade at the University of Arkansas. I have a new-found appreciation for the State of Arkansas, the horse show family it has, and for the nation wide love of the American Quarter Horse Association.


Ashton hopes to be a voice not only for the quarter horse industry as a whole but a continued voice for Arkansas as well. From her roots showing at “Saturday night” shows all the way to leading her team to national championships, along with showing at the world level, Ashton is truly a one of a kind, whose leadership with undoubtedly positively influence the industry’s future.

View Ashton’s Feature Video HERE: Ashton Rein Williams 

Source: All American Quarter Horse Congress Queens Contest


One Response to “Ashton Rein Williams Reigns as the 2018 ArkansasQHA Queen, the 1st in over 20 years”

  1. OHH beautiful and such a great article. THank you

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