Tragedy leads to beautiful love story
LOVE first blossomed for Shane and Amanda Templeton at the Nixon's Xing campdraft, in Katherine, in 2013.
Better known as Tempo and Candy, both competitors locked eyes and hearts at a party on the Wednesday night of the draft, in Tempo's gooseneck.
But what they didn't know was just two weeks later Tempo would be in a critical condition fighting for his life.
Theirs is a love story, worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, so much so, Adam Sandler fans may be reminded of 50 First Dates.
ON FATHER'S Day, 2013, then 34-year-old pilot Tempo was thrown from a Robinson R22 helicopter at a stock camp, southwest of Lake Nash station, 200km west of Mount Isa, on the Northern Territory/ Queensland border.
The near-fatal crash left Tempo with his back and neck fractured in three places, severe brain injuries and a badly broken leg.
The Royal Flying Doctors Service flew Tempo to Townsville Hospital.
At the time, Tempo was running a contract mustering business, Orana Contract Mustering, which employed eight people.
On the day of the crash, Candy was working at Santavan Export Yards, near Darwin, in the Top End.
Despite their short, long- distance relationship and only one call on a satellite phone, Candy already knew Tempo was "the one".
"My mate Jodie called me and said she had heard he was in an accident and might not make it through the night," Candy said.
"We had only spent a week together at the campdraft - it was early days - but I knew he was it.
"My friends would make fun of me being in love and how he would make me smile from ear to ear."
Candy was unknown to Tempo's family.
Just before the crash, he had called his brother Jon for a yarn but he ended up speaking to his sister-in-law Tash and vaguely mentioned "something about a Candy girl".
Candy started messaging Tempo's sister, Amanda, on Facebook for updates on his condition.
(At this point of the yarn, it needs to be clarified, Candy's real name is Amanda. Candy said the name Amanda was ditched a long time ago, when her aunty started calling her Candy. "Although my grandma still calls me Amanda," she joked.)
Prior to meeting Tempo, Candy had been in the Air Force for 11 years, then decided to go contract mustering in the Territory.
FOUR weeks went by with Tempo in a stable, but critical condition in Townsville.
(Candy had written him messages every few days, which Tempo still has today, but she didn't know he wasn't able to read them.)
Candy finally got the call to say friends were now welcome to visit Tempo.
Candy's mum lived in Townsville - so not wanting to sound like "a crazy stalker" - she paid her mother a visit, coincidently in the same town as Tempo.
Despite his condition, Tempo's sense of humour remained intact, asking his mother if the woman waiting to see him was "good looking or not".
"I met Tempo's mum, Sue, for the first time outside his hospital room," Candy said.
"She said to me 'you do realise he might not remember you at all?'.
"When I walked in, we looked at each other... the kind of look you give someone in the street and they look familiar but you can't remember where you know them from."
Most would feel heartbroken at the thought of a loved one not remembering them, but Candy stayed positive.
"I wasn't sad at all, I knew something had triggered in his mind when he saw me," she said.
"I was happy to see him.
"I stayed in Townsville for a week and visited him every day. He would light up when he had visitors. Eventually I had to go back to the NT for work."
During the six weeks Tempo was in Townsville Hospital, his family borrowed an old ute of Candy's from her mother's house.
"They had come up from their property in Rockhampton to be with Tempo, so we helped them out as much as we could."
Tempo was eventually moved to Brisbane, to be placed in a brain injury rehab unit.
Candy moved from the Northern Territory to live with one of her sisters in Beaudesert, just outside Brisbane.
"At this stage Tempo and I were just friends," she said.
Once Tempo was released from hospital, he moved back to his parents' property, Orana, in Rockhampton.
"His parents offered for me to stay and help with his recovery," Candy said.
Six months on from the near-fatal accident, Tempo and Candy packed up and headed off to work together on Camfield Station, in the NT.
Over the next few years, their love continued to grow while the couple was hard at work on various stations across the north.
"After Camfield Station we went to Litchfield Station (NT) in a caretaker's role," Candy said.
"Remembering, Tempo was still recovering, so he didn't need the responsibility of running a camp. We went to Canobie Station (Qld) to work in the stock camp.
"Then in 2016 we moved back to Orana, in Rockhampton, so we were close by to help his dad out with his cattle.
"We managed Red Rock and Kullanda for the Speed family, while they went to their northern properties.
"Each November and December we would head over to Esperance (WA) for harvest time.
"Tempo would cart grain with his Western Star, and I drove one of the Backman Transport's trucks, also grain carting."
The couple also share a love of campdrafting, both still competing whenever they can.
"I've always been very horse orientated. I've placed in a number of drafts, I even came second in the Warwick Gold Cup in 2002," Tempo said.
"I was staying at his (Tempo's) best mate's place near Nebo (Qld) in March last year, doing day work close by," Candy said.
"I used Tempo's old horse float, borrowed his mate's car, off with my two horses and three dogs. We were doing things a bit backwards at this stage.
"I'd been away working for two months straight."
On March 8, Tempo jumped in the ute to drive four hours from Orana to see Candy.
He had been helping out his father on their property, as well as mustering cattle at Tambo.
"We'd had a blue on the phone the night before, we were arguing about selling his horses," she joked.
"When he arrived, I was showering in the workers quarters.
"He kept telling me he had a surprise for me, I told him to wait until I had finished my shower.
"I walked outside the shower block, just in my towel, and there he was, standing with a big bunch of flowers. I asked him if they were an apology.
"He pulled out a ring from under the flowers and asked me to marry him, right then and there, while I was in a towel!
Candy said after all the excitement - and confusion as to why she didn't get the chance to get dressed first - she said "yes, of course".
"The ring has the biggest rock I've ever seen, it's just beautiful and it fitted perfectly," she said.
Tempo then went on to tell Candy he had spent months planning the proposal, asking for help from her best mate Jodie and her sister to help choose the perfect ring.
Tempo said after Candy stayed with him through his accident, he realised how loving and supportive she was.
"I knew that she was the one for me," he said.
When asked why he proposed to Candy while she wore a towel, Tempo simply said he didn't want to ask her to marry him in front of anyone else.
"I had planned to ask her as soon as I saw her, the sexy woman."
WITH Tempo, 39, and Candy, 34, currently living and working between Texas and Tenterfield on the New South Wales/Queensland border, the pair chose Warwick, Qld, for their wedding location.
"I had been to Warwick Rodeo way back when," Candy said.
"Tempo is working on a property for someone else, managing about 1500 head of cattle.
"If we owned our own property, we would have got married there but instead, because we wanted a country wedding, we chose Gordon Country, in the Goomburra Valley, just north of Warwick."
The couple tied the knot on February 24.
"It was also a central location for us. Family could easily fly into Brisbane and have a short drive out, I have an aunty in Warwick and still family at Beaudesert," Candy said.
"But it was the most perfect day and everyone told me how beautiful and calm I was as a bride," she laughed.
Tempo has plans to fly again in the near future.