Synopsis: Becky Howard competes in the Regional Young Farmer of the Year award in the hopes of winning a scholarship and gaining the respect of other farmers. However, Jake Harrison comes back to her life, and offers her to come away with him. Becky is faced with the dilemma of leaving Drovers Run. Meanwhile, Harry Ryan and Sandra Kinsela had a falling off that led the woman to commit a desperate act of revenge.
Episode Summary: Jodi Fountain (Rachael Carpani) watches Becky Howard (Jessica Napier) muster the last heifer inside the gate. She wonders why the lead station hand dreams of winning the Regional Young Farmer of the Year award given the lackluster prizes – a trophy and the winner’s name on the wall. Becky reminds her about the scholarship at the Higgins Agricultural College, and how Claire McLeod gained the respect of other farmers as a result of her victory back in 1996. It would not be an easy win with tough competitors including Jake Harrison (Charlie Clausen) who after watching Becky from afar had decided to approach the young woman to let her know of his entry. He believes that the competition is a way to make Becky notice him, and that claiming victory would win her back.
Harry Ryan (Marshall Napier) makes his way to Drovers Run to judge the Regional Young Farmer’s Competition, and also to check on his prized bull – King Harold. Driving ahead of him is his former girlfriend and also one of the judges, Sandra Kinsela (Inge Hornstra) who with a big smile stops her truck to flag him down. However, Harry who has turned cold on her just passes her by. He arrives at Drovers Run and learns that Claire McLeod (Lisa Chappell) had put Becky in charge of looking after the prized bull given that the breeding program was the young woman’s idea. Having learned this, Harry starts to feel a little hesitant with the agreement especially since Becky already has too much on her plate, but Claire assures him that her lead station hand is more than capable of handling her responsibilities, and adds that the young woman is the best station hand she has ever had.
Sandra finally arrives at Drovers Run, and finds Harry already there. She offers him a ride to the paddock where the competition will be taking place, but he rejects her offer. Having witnessed the turn of events, Alex Ryan (Aaron Jeffrey) could not help but mock her, but his ridicule backfires when Sandra implies about the short-lived relationship the two of them had. Unaware of Alex’s relationship with Sandra, Claire inquires about the woman’s remark. Luckily, the competition has begun allowing Alex to elude her inquisition. Jake takes the first round, which involved counting sheep. His plan seems to work, and Jodi provides affirmation having observed how Becky, though unconsciously, flirted with him.
Meanwhile Terry Dodge is a bit threatened and annoyed having learned that Meg Fountain (Sonia Todd) had been spending much time alone with Gordon Vidmar, her professor, discussing romantic poetry. Meg is a little insulted that Terry finds it hard to believe that her professor might just be interested with her brain. However, Tess made her think twice. According to her, men sends off signals such that when they talk and look at a woman’s mouth instead of her eyes it means that he wants to kiss her. To appease Terry, Meg though not convincingly attests that Gordon looks at her eyes. Still anxious about Meg and her professor, Terry seeks help from Jodi hoping to learn if her mother gives off any signs of attraction. Unfortunately, he asked the wrong person since Jodi was clueless about their affair before, and in fact only learned about it when she walked in on them. To add more to his anxiety, he finds Meg talking on the phone with Gordon. He worries even more when she innocently sends him out of the kitchen. Feeling insecure and fearing of losing Meg to a professor, Terry tries to win her back with a good home-cooked meal, but Meg’s mind is still wrapped around her poetry assignment leaving his efforts unnoticed.
With the first round over, Claire finds another opportunity to reopen the issue. Given Alex’s reputation, she had made herself believe that he slept with the one woman she abhors. Alex at first denies her accusation, but was forced to admit his guilt to avoid losing Claire’s trust. Although the affair happened before the two of them were together, Claire could not help but be angry.
The second round, a barrel race, commences and this time Becky takes the lead. While others are taking a break, she resumes her duties as Drovers Run’s lead station hand starting up with feeding the prized bull. Jake finds her, and offers her to come away with him. Apparently, he had already leased his own place, and wants her to help him run it, but more than that he only wants to be with her given how much he truly loves Becky. Confused she returns for the third round of the competition where contestants are to put up a post for a fence, and Becky finishes last, which moves her down to third place in the overall rankings. She blames Jake for her loss, since his revelation had made her lose focus. Determined to win the competition, she tells him to keep his distance from her.
Tess McLeod (Bridie Carter) and Nick Ryan (Myles Pollard) are on their way back to Drovers with the trophy for the young farmer’s competition. Not having won any competition Tess finds the trophy, a piece of shiny tin on a block of fake wood, a bit of a disappointment. Unlike her, Nick has a wall full of trophies, and knows exactly how it feels to win one. He explains that to kids, a trophy helps boost morale. However, there is one competition that he did not win where he clearly is still bitter about his loss – public speaking. Determined to prove that his speech about rodeo life deserves the trophy that escaped his grasp, he begins his speech where even a flat tire did not stop him from finishing it. Unfortunately, it only proved that he definitely was not worthy of the coveted trophy. The long and winding speech had made Tess forget about the trophy that she temporarily placed at the back of the Ute when she was looking for a jack. They drive away unaware that the award had fallen off the Ute. Some time had passed before Tess remembered the trophy. They return to the place where they had the flat tire to find that it had been run over, by the looks of it, by a truck.
With the first day of the competition over, Becky continues her watch on the prized bull. Oddly, she finds Sandra by the gate, equally peculiar is how she pointed out how Harry so loved his prized bull – King Harold. Her strange presence adds more to Becky’s already preoccupied mind. Becky is torn between Drovers Run and Jake both of which are difficult to leave. However, Jodi points out that she would be leaving anyway if she wins the competition, but Becky vows of coming back. Drovers Run has become her home thanks to Claire who provided her refuge when the world had turned its back on her.
The long day is finally over, and everybody is back in the comforts of their own homes. Nick and Alex talk about the peculiar ways of women. With Claire still upset with him, Alex complains how women do not want to be lied to, and be told the truth. Nick, on the other hand, is annoyed at Tess for finding his speech awful. Though not the best public speaker, Nick is good at giving advice, and his most recent one seems to be most helpful to Alex. He tells his brother to swallow his pride and apologize to Claire. Alex is hesitant, since he did not do anything wrong. Nick tries to convince his clueless about women brother to just follow his advice, but Sandra’s rather unusual visit disrupts their conversation.
Back at Drovers Run, Becky and Jake’s issue had opened the discussion for their own heartaches. Claire tells Tess of having discovered that Alex slept with Sandra. Learning that it happened long before the two became an item, Tess makes her sister understand that Alex was not in the wrong. However, Claire could not get over the fact that he slept with Sandra. The woman one would consider as her mortal enemy. Tess points out that she slept with Peter whom everybody knows Alex loathes. Moreover, she convinces Claire that Alex would not do anything to wreck their relationship. Their discussion made Tess realize about her own problem with Dave, her avoidance from him, given their recent break up. She makes it known that she actually misses her former fiancé.
Despite Becky’s order for him to stay away, Jake found it difficult to do so. He tells her of his plans with the land he leased, of building a cottage big enough for a family. Jake had clearly changed for the better, and is trying his best to please the woman he loves. However, his efforts seem to be in vain as she shrugs him off to go check on Harry’s prized bull – King Harold. It was a rightful decision, since Becky got there just in time to scare off the men about to castrate the bull. The next morning, Claire finds her sleeping at the back of the Ute keeping close watch of the prized bull. Confused as to why one would go to such lengths to castrate the bull leaving it worthless than stealing it for profit, the two women realize that it is a plot to make either Becky or Drovers Run look bad. Claire takes charge of moving King Harold so Becky could go and win the competition.
Becky and Jake go head-to-head at the shearing competition. All watch the event including Claire and Alex who had taken his brother’s advice, and apologized. Unfortunately, Claire is not like any other woman as she rejects his apology stating that Alex does not even know why he is even asking for forgiveness. Alex’s retort gave Claire the idea that Sandra must be the one who tried to castrate Harry’s prized bull given how Harry had turned sour on her. She leaves the shearing shed without knowing that Jake had once again beaten Becky. Fully aware how much the competition means to Becky, Jake tells her that he will pull out of the race if she asks him to. However, Becky wants to win fair and square and vows of completely rejecting his offer if he in any way attempts to let her win. Jake is given a renewed hope upon learning that she is giving his proposal some thought.
Tess and Nick set off again to get another trophy to replace the one they broke. However, Tess is not in her usual bubbly mood. Noticing this, Nick tries to cheer her up with his speech with the added hope of making her realize how good it is. Tess already sore after hearing it the first time begs him not to repeat it again. Nick dares Tess to give a speech of her own, and she ends up mocking him, but nonetheless makes a point. Her speech about coffee that only enumerated and described the different types is not far away from the speech he was so sure was deserving of a trophy.
After the wool classing round, Claire confers with Becky her suspect - Sandra. She reckons that it could only be Sandra who would have thought of castrating the bull rather than just stealing it. With this and learning from Becky that the woman had been strangely lurking around the prized bull, Claire is utterly convinced that she has the right suspect.
Sandra takes a break and leaves the shearing shed while the other judges are tallying up the scores. Claire takes this opportunity to confront Sandra. Alex sees the two and follows them. She accuses Sandra of the attempted crime, but was thrown off upon learning that the woman could not have done it since she was at Wilgul with Alex at the time. Alex confirms her alibi, consequently digging himself a deeper hole. He explains that the woman came uninvited and would not leave, but stubborn Claire would not listen.
The last round has finally arrived, and so is Becky’s last chance to win the competition. The contestants on their motorbikes race around a dirt course. Jake leads the pack with Becky right behind him. With only a few feet away from the finish line, Jake regrettably meets an accident as he hits a stack of hay causing him to lose balance and fall. Becky foregoes winning the competition as she stays behind to help the fallen biker. Although both of them lose, the mishap had made Becky realize that she still loves Jake. However, she is faced with the dilemma of leaving Drovers Run after all that Claire had done for her.
It seems like Claire is out again to stick her head for Becky after she tells Harry of the attempted castration of his prized bull. Harry who was from the onset against having Becky in charge of his bull’s safety blames the station hand, but Claire makes him understand that if not for the young woman’s efforts the bull would not have been protected from danger. In fact, she did over and above what was expected of her, and even jeopardized her chances of winning the scholarship that she so hoped of getting. She put her dream on the line for her job.
If there’s anyone to blame it should be Sandra whom Claire accuses in front of Harry. She is convinced that it is only she who would benefit from the crime, and in fact deliberately made the unusual visit at Wilgul to provide her the necessary alibi. Sandra threatens to sue for her false accusation, but Harry puts a stop to it given that his prized bull is alive and well. Truth be told, Harry is pleased to learn that Sandra might have done it as a desperate act of revenge. He considers the action as a very powerful way of saying how much she loves him, since she went to such lengths to get his attention.
Because Sandra has a watertight alibi, she is off the hook. The good news is Harry still wants Becky to continue her breeding program. However, Becky finally tells Claire about her leaving Drovers Run to be with Jake. Although, losing her best lead station hand is a painful blow, Claire who is always considerate of others needs does not stand in the way of the young woman’s love or dreams, and she gives Becky her blessing.
With the competition over, Meg makes her way to town to submit her assignment, and was taken aback when Mr. Vidmar looks at her mouth and leans close to her. Reminded by Tess’ theory, Meg makes it clear to her professor that she does not want to engage in a relationship with him. Confused with his student’s unusual reaction, Meg explains her sudden awkward, and rather fearful behavior only to shamefully learn that the only reason why Mr. Vidmar had looked at her mouth was because she has a piece of parsley stuck on her teeth. Moreover, she learns that he is in fact gay.
All return in time for the award ceremony including Meg who has wonderful news for Terry. Also there are Nick and Tess who managed to find a replacement trophy without anyone learning about the thrashed old one, which Tess awarded to Nick for his efforts at making her forget about Dave, and her upcoming biopsy. It seems that couples had gotten back together including Harry and Sandra, which only leaves Claire and Alex to sort out their own relationship. Claire apologizes to Alex and admits that she is wrong. Alex takes the rare opportunity of hearing Claire admit to her mistake, and subtly impels her to make her apology public. Without any arguments, she does what he would never dream of seeing her do. Claire McLeod swallows her pride and in front of everybody admits that she is wrong, and apologizes to Alex.
Finally, the actual award ceremony had commenced, and Harry Ryan announces that Ruth Davis wins the regional competition. In addition, Harry announces a new award for the best and fairest competitor who put others safety before the desire to win, to add, this person also went to extra lengths to ensure the safety of a prized bull. Obviously, Becky Howard takes that award, which comes with a one-year scholarship to Higgins Agricultural College – a prize that was generously donated by Harry himself.
Although this prize adds more complication for Becky who had earlier agreed to live with Jake to help him run their own horse-breeding program, the two managed to reach common ground. Jake, learning how much Becky wants the scholarship, puts his girlfriend’s dream first before his. All seem to handle Becky’s departure very well, except for Jodi who though happy for her friend’s good fortune could not help, but be sad to see her best friend leave. All say their goodbyes, including Meg who had not always gotten along with the young woman, but nevertheless learned to appreciate and even be proud of her. Becky tearfully bids farewell to Claire McLeod who was the one person who gave her a chance when no one else would. She remembers all the kindness she received from the women of Drovers Run who had always been there for her in her time of need. Becky waves goodbye to them as she and Jake drive away, and with that Becky Howard leaves Drovers Run.
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