2020, quite rightly, won't be given a second thought by many in the sporting community.
Saturday afternoons lost their thrill, and colour and noise disappeared from the region's grounds, as the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily claimed local sporting competitions on its raid across the nation.
But, despite its well-noted difficulties, this year still offered plenty of sporting moments to savour.
Some came before lockdowns, while other's happened on the world stage.
Dreams were realised, legacies honoured and winners crowned, in a year where the great distraction of sport was appreciated more than ever.
Here are 10 of the top moments, in no order, from the Wimmera and its sporting stars in 2020.
February seems like a lifetime ago, but it offered one of the Wimmera's greatest accolades in recent history.
The start of the year saw Nhill rowing sensation Lucy Stephan named Victoria's Female Athlete of the Year for 2019, in a nod to not only a remarkable season, but a decade spent at the top of her craft.
The 28-year pipped other gold-standard nominees, including international netballer Liz Watson, freestyle skier Jakara Anthony and world billiards champion Anna Lynch, to become only the second rower to win the award.
"I'm a very proud Victorian, so it's great to be recognised by your home state," she said.
"I'm also a proud born-and-bred Nhill resident, and I take a lot of pride in where I come from. It's definitely made me who I am today."
Stephan wasn't immune to 2020's cruelties, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and most World Rowing Championships postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Olympian used the time for a well-earned rest before preparations began for the re-scheduled Tokyo Olympics.
Shaun Bruce's game has always been underpinned by a team-first mentality.
So, it was little surprise that this unwavering selflessness propelled the former Horsham Hornet to a standout 2019-20 NBL season.
Bruce transformed himself from NBL outcast to pivotal sixth-man, as his contributions helped the Sydney Kings to a minor premiership and the club's first grand final appearance in over a decade.
He played an instrumental role off the bench last season averaging 7 points and 3 assists in 18 mins per game.
After a breakout season in Sydney, Bruce was nominated for the NBL's Most Improved Player and Sixth Man awards, and took home the Sydney Kings Coaches' Award.
Ultimate team glory eluded the 29-year-old, with the grand final series abandoned partway through due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NBL crowned the Perth Wildcats champions, recognising the westerner's 2-1 series lead.
"I went into the night with not too many expectations; I wasn't even sure if I was going to get picked. To have my name called out ... it was just unreal."
It's impossible not to get swept up in Maggie Caris' excitement.
In a year where there was local football to cheer on, the success of the region's rising stars seems just that little bit sweeter.
The former Horsham Saint was drafted by Melbourne with pick 17 in the 2020 AFLW draft, realising a childhood dream.
Caris joins not only sister - and Geelong ruck - Rene in the competition, but fellow local star Isabella Simmons.
The Stawell-based midfielder joined Caris at the Demons, after being selected with pick 48.
"Sacrifices, not just from me but from my Mum and family have paid off - and I'm grateful for those who helped me along the way. It's a celebration for all those people" Simmons said.
Pre-season training has begun for the new Demons duo, with the AFLW season proper kicking off on January 28.
Twenty20 cricket arrived in the Horsham Cricket Association with a sense of eager anticipation at the sight of the competition's finest finally let loose.
Certainly, HCA's first standalone Twenty20 competition didn't disappoint.
Rup-Minyip would claim ultimate honours, with the Blue Panthers' mix of pure power and guile proving too good for all.
Rup-Minyip restricted Homers to just 9-95 in the grand final with an excellent bowling display, before reaching their target with nine wickets and 52 balls to spare.
It is the first time Homers have missed out on an A Grade premiership in any format since the 2015-2016 season, when Rup-Minyip claimed the two-day flag.
Homers didn't have to wait long to redeem themselves, with the traditional powerhouses securing a fifth-consecutive one-day premiership only a few weeks later.
With local football put on ice, attention shifted to the region's exports competing on the sport's biggest stage.
Few were more deserving of the extra support and subsequent reward than Seb Ross.
The former Horsham Demon had 138 AFL games to earn his reputation as a first-rate midfielder and influential leader, without ever getting to test himself at the business end of the season.
So, when St Kilda took the field for the elimination final - ending a 3296-day finals drought in the process - more than a few Wimmera footy fans were happy to jump on the Saints bandwagon.
The Saints ultimately prevailed in Ross' first finals appearance, before losing to the season's best, Richmond, in the semi-final.
It was a historic finals charge for fellow Horsham export Jarrod Berry, as well, despite his Brisbane Lions bowing out in the preliminary final.
The former Horsham Saint's first AFL finals win came in the Lions' qualifying final, which saw the club progress to the preliminary final for the first time since 2004.
There's a sweet irony in the fact that the most recent moment on this list is perhaps the most overdue.
Midway through the 2020 Boxing Day Test it was announced that one of the Wimmera's finest sporting pioneers had been inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, becoming the first Aboriginal player to receive the honour.
Johnny Mullagh - a Jardwadjali man from Harrow, whose real name was Unaarrimin - was the main man of the 1868 Aboriginal XI during their tour of England, when they became the first Australian sporting team to tour internationally.
It was the latest accolade in an important year for the recognition of the Aboriginal XI's stature in the nation's cricket history.
The inaugural Mullagh Medal, presented to the player of the match of the Boxing Day Test, was awarded to Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane. Different descendants of the 1868 team will present the medal each year.
The Walkabout Wickets design, by Aunty Fiona Clarke, which drew inspiration from the Aboriginal XI featured on the Australian men's team's Twenty20 shirts.
Clarke's great-great-grandfather Jimmy "Mosquito" Couzens (Grougarrong) and his brother Johnny Cuzens (Yellanach or Zellanach) were members of the pioneering team.
It's been some year for Sacha McDonald.
It began with the expectation that she'd help the Victorian Fury defend its Australian Netball League championship, before all netball abruptly ended as COVID-19 gripped the country.
After a few months out of action, the Edenhope-Apsley export was suddenly sitting on a plane with her Melbourne Vixens teammates, bound for a Queensland hub.
Selection in the Australian 21-and-under national squad would soon follow, before the Vixens closed the chaos in the best possible fashion by winning a heart-stopping Super Netball grand final.
There would be one final bit of good news to come for McDonald in 2020, with the announcement the 20-year-old would help the Vixens' premiership defence next season.
2020 was the year Lucas Hamilton finally got "the monkey off his back".
Long touted as one of Australian cycling's hottest prospects, the Ararat product won his first WorldTour stage at the Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy back in September.
It continued the success the 24-year-old found earlier in the year, when he finished second at the National Road Race Championships at Ballarat.
Hamilton was also the highest-ranked Mitchelton-Scott rider, and the second highest-ranked Australian at the Giro d'Italia, before his team withdrew from the event following a COVID-19 outbreak in its bio-secure bubble.
Hamilton signed a new, extended contract with Mitchelton-Scott last month and will move into a team leadership role.
A generation of eager cricketers grew up idolising the Australian team of the early 2000s, with its swagger and dominance the inspiration many backyard battles.
So when Tony Caccaviello faced up to famed former Aussie quick Andy Bichel, while playing for an Australian Country XI you'd forgive him for being a bit overawed.
But with the one-ball he faced, the Noradjuha-Toolondo all-rounder dispatched the 2003 World Cup winner for six.
The exhibition match against Bichel and renown former Australian cricketers was just the curtain-raiser for a memorable week for Caccaviello.
Caccaviello saved his best performance of the tournament for the final, claiming 2-16 from his eight overs.
The final addition on this list is not a recognition of success, but rather an off-field decision that will change the local football landscape.
Earlier this month, a majority of the existing 11 Horsham District Football Netball League clubs and the eight board members voted in favour of Kaniva-Leeor United's application to join the league.
Kaniva-Leeor United had played in the Kowree-Naracoorte-Taitara for over 100 years, but were the victims of the border dramas that became synonymous with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"These outbreaks will not stop next year, and that was a key reason for us to seek refuge in Victoria," club president Jason Gordon said.
"We really look forward to playing in the HDFNL, which we see as a really community-oriented, family fun environment for the people of our district to enjoy."
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