I’m sure Chuck Hartman smiled the first time his son wrecked his car. That’s due to the Hartman family tradition of building and consequentially destroying demolition derby cars. For weeks before the competition, Chuck, Chas and Justin bend and weld metal from the moment they get off work to well after dark. 

Photos - Alex Matzke, Text - Nick Teets

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from the Fly Over Me Valentine team. Fly Over Me is a multimedia documentary project based in Valentine, NE that explores rural lifestyles in the Sandhills region in Cherry County, NE and Todd County, SD. The team has lived four total months in Valentine, producing multimedia stories on their website and compiling material for a book and documentary film to be released in 2015. They’re also guest Instagramming for us this week, so check out more Nebraska on AG’s Instagram. More importantly, visit them at Fly Over Me’s website and if you’re like us, you’ll want to like them on Facebook and follow their own great Instagram feed.

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Alex Matzke is a State Guide to Nebraska. She is an MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University, studying Photography and Film. Growing up in Nebraska, her friends showed livestock at State Fair; she showed photographs. Follow her on Tumblr at alexmatzke and alzke or on her website,

Nick Teets graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in chemistry. With a focus on video and audio, he hosts a community radio program in Lincoln, NE and spends time shooting and directing music videos.