As The Wimmera Mail-Times celebrates 150 years of publishing, we're taking a look back at some of the biggest stories in the region.
Back in 2020, readers of the Mail-Times voted Adam Goodes as the Wimmera's greatest AFL/VFL player of all time.
In a Wimmera Mail-Times poll, 34 per cent of nearly 400 respondents voted Goodes the region's greatest AFL/VFL export.
Now in 2023, it marks the 20th anniversary of the former Horsham Demons' Brownlow Medal win, the first by a player from the Wimmera.
Goodes claimed 22 votes during the home and away season to share the league's top individual honour with Adelaide captain Mark Ricciuto and Collingwood skipper Nathan Buckley.
"I can't believe I'm standing up here with Nathan Buckley and Mark Ricciutto," a 23-year-old Goodes told the Mail-Times.
The ruck polled votes in 11 matches, with best-on-ground nods in rounds five and 14 as the Swans went on to a preliminary final.
Goodes's mother, Lisa May, accompanied him to the vote count and asserted that her son would always win a Brownlow.
"But I did not expect it to be so soon," Ms May told the Mail-Times at the time of the event.
But Goodes's football journey started with the Horsham Sunnyside Junior Football Club following his family's move to the Wimmera from Mildura.
Long-time secretary and treasurer of the Horsham Sunnyside Junior Football Club, Peter Ledger, said that Goodes' talent was identified at a young age.
"His [Goodes'] skills were incredible, and he was always very mature," Mr Ledger told the Mail-Times 2003.
"He could mix with the adults and at the next minute be assisting the under-13 kids, and kids seemed to flock to him. He was like a pied piper," he said.
Goodes then moved to Wimmera League club Horsham in 1996.
However, Goodes played the entirety of the season with the North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup (now Coates Talent League)
He competed at the national schoolboy championships and won selection in the all-Australian team at the end of the carnival.
Goodes' 1997 season was marred by injury, limiting him to eight TAC Cup games.
After he spent most of the year in defence, Goodes moved forward and kicked six goals as the Rebels won its first and only Talent League grand final.
His potential was displayed to AFL recruiters as Goodes represented Vic Country at the 1997 Under-18 National Championships.
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Goodes' AFL dream was realised at the end of 1997, as the Sydney Swans selected him with the 43rd pick in the national draft.
After spending 1998 in the reserves, Goodes burst onto the scene in 1999 and won the AFL's Rising Star award.
Fast forward to 2003, Goodes continued as a ruck on the way to his first Brownlow.
In the two years that followed, Goodes was part of The Swans side that broke the longest V/AFL premiership drought (at the time) of 72 years, and he added his second Brownlow in 2006, where the Swans faced West Coast for a second straight grand final.
By the time Goodes finished his 18-year AFL career in 2015, he was one of the Swans' most accomplished players.
Goodes played a club record of 372 games and booted 464 goals, with three club best and fairests, four All-Australian selections and three club leading goal kicker awards.
He also earned a selection in the Indigenous Team of the Century.
Goodes' impact was not just limited to the sporting arena.
A proud Adnyamathanha man, Goodes is also known for his work as an Indigenous campaigner.
In 2014, Goodes was awarded the Australia of the Year for working with Indigenous youth.
Back in 2009, Goodes, alongside Michael O'Loughlin, established the GO Foundation, which provided various community programmes in the NSW town of Dareton.
The focus of the foundation turned to education in 2014.
Since then, GO has provided over 1000 scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary, secondary and tertiary students in Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra.
The GWV Rebels recognise Goodes' impact on the program as the winner of the Under 18 Boys best and fairest claims the Adam Goodes Trophy.
With nine players from the Wimmera on an AFL list, hopefully, it will not be long till another name is added as a Brownlow Medallist.
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