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Roller derby

Bethany Kempher (left) and Fawn Gray of the Kansas City Roller Warriors test out their skates on the concrete surface during a skate-around for teams on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 at the Pershing Center. Lincoln is hosting the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's South Central Regional Tournament from October 5-7.

One might think that when hundreds of like-minded people from all over the place get together in one town to participate in the activity that unites them, they’d be happy to see each other.

In this case, the pleasantries have to wait until after they’re done throwing each other around on the Pershing Center floor.

“We can be friends later,” said Megan Harrington, aka Flash Gloria of the No. 7 seed Mad Maxines roller derby team.

Lincoln's No Coast Derby Girls -- the Mad Maxines are No Coast's travel team -- hosts the 10-team Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s South Central Region playoffs beginning Friday. They're set to take on No. 10 seed Jacksonville, Fla., at noon. 

If they beat Jacksonville, the Derby Girls take on No. 2 Kansas City at 8 p.m.

“Gonna be the biggest bout of the whole regional,” said Emily Epperson, a blocker who goes by Bully McSkater on the track.

A win over Kansas City could put Lincoln’s squad in prime position to advance to the finals in Atlanta. No matter how things shake out, No Coast will be playing at least three bouts during the three-day tournament this weekend.

“It’s like getting hit by a truck after one bout, so I can only imagine it will be the equivalent of being hit by a train,” Epperson said.

She said the team has trained “100 times harder” than they ever have in advance of the big weekend, which is one reason she was going all Joe Namath predicting No Coast victories.

But Epperson, who is playing in her first regional tourney, said she’s looking forward to attending all the bouts this weekend.

“It’s girl on girl sanctioned violence,” she said. “What’s not to like?”

She’s looking forward to seeing Nashville, Texas, Atlanta and, of course, Omaha, among the 10 teams. She’s made friends with many of the opponents, and she looks forward to comparing battle scars with them Sunday at the post-tournament party at the Single Barrel.

“It’s all business before the bouts,” Epperson said. “Once we win and it’s over, you can let that (guard) down a bit.”

Reach Cory Matteson at 402-473-7438 or cmatteson@journalstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @LJSMatteson.

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Features reporter

Cory Matteson is a features reporter.

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