More than 100 shearers and woolhandlers from 27 countries are competing in the Golden Shears World Championships which start in Ireland on Friday, after a day of all-nation warm-up events.
New Zealand's machine shearers John Kirkpatrick and Rowland Smith, and the wool-handling team Joel Henare and Ronnie Goss are regarded as the leading contenders for those contests.
The South African blade shearers are the favourites for that event.
Shearing Sports New Zealand's media officer Doug Laing said competition in international shearing is getting stronger, especially in the machine shearing, with countries such as Wales and Ireland joining past winners such as New Zealand, Australia and Scotland as serious contenders for world titles.
Mr Laing says the number of countries in the world shearing championships has also grown, with China and Russia competing for the first time.