May is headed for the Rubello Town Pokémon Contest, where at least one ribbon is needed to enter. She runs into Drew, and both of them are mobbed by the Mothers for Pokémon—a group of women who adore Pokémon Coordinators. One of them, Savannah, is a Coordinator herself, and will be competing in the upcoming contest, but she is really nervous.
Jessie from Team Rocket wants to enter the contest but can't since she has never won a ribbon.
Later, May is practicing outside the Pokémon Center when she spots Drew with his new Masquerain. She tries to show off her Bulbasaur, but it won't listen to her.
The next day, May is helping Savannah practice when they are accosted by Team Rocket, who takes both May's and Savannah's ribbons. The kids take down Team Rocket's balloon, and Jessie returns the stolen ribbons. Savannah's Lairon uses a Water-type move to send the thieves blasting off.
Savannah's daughter Sandra reassures her mother, while May is feeling confident again about the contest.
The group enters Rubello Town, on their way to Ash's next Gym battle, when Max spots a poster for a Pokémon Contest which is set to begin the next day. May is delighted and quickly decides to enter. Brock, however, notices a mysterious symbol on the poster, "R1," the meaning of which is not known to the group. Fortunately, Nurse Joy explains that in order to enter the Rubello Contest, a Coordinator must have earned at least one Ribbon. In the Pokémon Center, May runs into Drew, who is also entering the Pokémon Contest. After insulting May, she gets angered with him, but before anything can happen, Drew is engulfed by a swarm of rabid female fans. Drew isn't exactly happy to see these fans, as they lean towards the obsessive side, but May becomes jealous nonetheless. The jealousy is forgotten when one of the women recognizes May and the group crowds around her instead. However, the fans seem more interested in Norman than either May or Max. During the discussion, Savannah, the head of the group, explains that they saw May in the Verdanturf Contest. Savannah also reveals that she will be entering the Rubello Contest as well. The group also introduces themselves with a cheer as the Mothers for Pokémon, also known as MFP. They are a group of wives and mothers who love Pokémon. They decide to throw a party for May and Max. One of them tells Ash that he isn't on the list of "promising and handsome young Trainers."
Meanwhile, Team Rocket enters the town very fatigued, but Jessie, upon seeing the Contest poster, decides to enter. James and Meowth groan. When she discovers that she needs a Ribbon to enter, and having none, she decides to steal one and enter the Contest. Back at the reception, Savannah and the MFP compliment May and her father, Norman. Ash mutters angrily to himself, saying he does all the hard work, training and Gym battles, and is jealous of May. Nonetheless, Ash vehemently denies his jealousy when Max asks about his complaining. At the other table, Savannah and May realize that neither of them have picked Pokémon for the Contest. Savannah shows May her Lairon and Flareon. While showing May her Pokémon, Savannah reveals that this R1 competition requires the use of two Pokémon; one for the appeals round and one for the Battle Round. While Savannah only has to decide the order, May faces a more difficult decision; picking two candidates from her four Pokémon lineup. While Brock and Savannah go grocery shopping and meet Savannah's daughter Sandra, May, Ash, and Max talk the Pokémon choice over. Savannah and Sandra invite the company to dinner in the end.
May trains late into the night, testing all four of her Pokémon to see which is the best choice for the upcoming Contest. Bulbasaur stumbles and trips in its attempted combination, but May remains confident and happily remembers the compliments she got from the MFP earlier that day. Her reminiscence is interrupted by Drew's voice, calling out orders to his new Masquerain. Drew notices May watching him and brags that "winning this Contest will be a cinch." Drew also notices May's Pokémon, and inquires about her new Bulbasaur, a rare find in the Hoenn region. Drew insults May's Bulbasaur as undisciplined. His comments provoke May, who decides to use Bulbasaur in the Contest, a decision which startles the rest of the group. Meanwhile, Savannah nears the breaking point from stage fright, but completely forgets her fear at the sight of Bulbasaur, which she says was her first Pokémon long ago. May and Savannah decide to start a practice battle to train, with Bulbasaur having the disadvantage against Savannah's Flareon. However, the battle is cut short by Team Rocket's interruption.
James and Meowth are less than enthusiastic about the Ribbon theft operation, but Jessie sends out her Dustox to combat the Pokémon Savannah and May already have out. However, Ash, Brock, and Max quickly arrive on the scene. Flareon's Flamethrower is deflected by Wobbuffet. Ash's Pikachu and Brock's Lombre and Mudkip are quickly called out to join the battle. Dustox uses Poison Sting while Pikachu uses Thunderbolt to block. Wobbuffet deflects a pair of Water Gun attacks. Jessie orders her Dustox to attack Sandra with Psybeam, but that's the breaking point for Savannah. She becomes angry that Jessie would dare attack her daughter and orders Flareon to launch another Flamethrower attack. Wobbuffet steps forward, but the attack was aimed at the balloon, not Wobbuffet. Team Rocket goes down in flames. Jessie declares that she would rather give up James and Meowth than the Ribbons. This angers James and Meowth, who convince Jessie to surrender the Ribbons to the group. Sandra and Savannah launch a Water Pulse which sends Team Rocket blasting off. In the end, the Coordinators anxiously await the start of the Rubello Town Contest.