Waimate will be "buzzing" today as the 51st Waimate Shears starts.

The major show on the PGG Wrightson Wool National Shearing Circuit celebrated a half century last year, and this year the event was settling in to its second year in its purpose-built, multi-use facility at the Southern Canterbury A&P Showgrounds in Waimate, Waimate Shears president Warren White said.

"It's getting stronger all the time - we're keeping it growing."

Yesterday, Elite Shearer Training ran shearing and woolhandling courses nearby.

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The woolhandling starts at noon today and some top names will be looking to accumulate qualifying points ahead of the 2019 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Le Dorat, France.

Roughly 160 competitors are taking part in the main event and up to 50 could take part in tonight's speed-shearing competition, which has a prize of $2000.

Also, a fleece throw could net a shed hand $1000.

World champion woolhandler Joel Henare is set to compete

and Southland shearer Nathan Stratford is another of the big names in the competition.

Shearing begins at 7.30am tomorrow and the marquee event, the shearing open final, tomorrow night will be followed by live music at the showgrounds.