The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States of America. A set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for individual prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for one’s family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. It was a Northern gentleman, a writer and historian of some note, James Truslow Adams that gave us the best idea of what the American Dream is. His definition, put simply, is that life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of their social class or circumstances of birth.
Fancy words indeed.
Mike “Rooster” McConaughey and Wayne “Butch” Gilliam are Southern gentlemen, from the Lone Star State. Alpine, West Texas to be exact and they’re looking to make some ambitious entrepreneurs’ American dream a reality in their new show Rooster & Butch on A&E.
In a recent interview with US Weekly, Rooster McConaughey said “Don’t measure success with wealth. The American dream to me is just success any way that you can have it. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to make a ton of money.” Gilliam and McConaughey said their 40-year friendship will be beneficial to the young entrepreneurs. “Rooster and I’ve we’ve got a lot of history prior to the show. We’ve done a lot of things together that’s been some good, some disastrous, and some in-between,” Butch Gilliam says. “That’s some of the things we think we had to offer some of the young entrepreneurs. It’s not so much about what to do. It’s maybe what not to do. We’ve got a lot of history there. We’ve done a lot of things together that we’re proud of.”
Rooster and Butch doesn’t fit the mould of your typical reality show of start-up businesses and aspirant entrepreneurs seeking the love and money of investors. Each show begins with a little West Texas wisdom from Rooster and Butch, and occasionally their buddy, Gil Prather. The three of them then review messages from aspirants on an ancient answering machine and decide who they want to talk too.
Make no mistake, Rooster and Butch are shrewd operators. Don’t be fooled by 1980s answering machine, the flannel shirts, impenetrably thick Texan accents and the omnipresent can of beer in hand.
Butch Gilliam is widely known as one of the most reputable pipe salesmen in the huge Permian Basin, that covers the western part of Texas and a good chunk of New Mexico. Butch is one of the owners of Patriot Premium Threading Services.
Gilliam dropped out of high school at fifteen to work at his father’s machine shop. He started at the ground floor as a shop-sweep, where he kept the shop clean by sweeping and shovelling up metal shavings. During the oil boom of the 1980s, Butch worked day and night and was quickly promoted to machinist. He later became president of the company.
Butch used the knowledge gleaned from his years spent at every level of the business to grow the company from a relatively modest tool manufacturing and repair machine shop to an expansive pipe yard. He later sold his father’s once small business for a massive profit. His biggest deal came in 2004, when he purchased the patent on a relatively obscure flush-joint connection for $200,000 and then sold it for $100,000,000 just two years later.
Butch continues to build, invest and operate a great diversity of companies across many industries including mining, technology, consumer products and real estate. He holds a board position on West Texas Ltd., the investment group he started with his friend and business partner Rooster McConaughey.
Rooster McConaughey had a similar start to Butch, starting work with his father at the ripe old age of twelve in the oil fields of Texas.
An honest, self-made man who lives the saying, “high risk means high reward,” McConaughey never finished college, but made his first million at age thirty working in the oil pipe business.
By the time he turned thirty-one he’d lost it all, but this taught him everything he needed to know to become the multi-millionaire he is today.
Armed with a larger-than-life personality and a trusted reputation, this wheeler-dealer built an empire worth millions of dollars from a field of rusted pipe. He’ll take calculated risks (and sometimes not so calculated), relies on his experience and good old-fashioned gut-instinct when analysing risk for a potential investment.
Now, McConaughey is the sole owner of DGM Supply, an oil pipe machine shop that specialises in buying and selling used pipe. He averages two to one profit on his pipe deals and his most recent multi-million-dollar oil deal profited five to one in only two years.
Before you ask, Rooster does have a younger brother who didn’t follow Old Man McConaughey into the pipe business. Young Matthew chose acting for a living.
Oscar winning baby brother did have some salient words of wisdom for Rooster and Butch about the entertainment industry. “Whatever you do, you guys just be you. Just be you and it’s going to be great. Just be you no matter what.”
They certainly are themselves – that’s the charm of this extremely entertaining and brilliantly unconventional reality show.
They say that everything is bigger in Texas so where would be better than the Lone Star State to chase the American Dream. Rooster and Butch’s approach is as succinct as it is smart. A pretty balance sheet will only get you so far in West Texas – and these two will only throw their money down after they’ve tested the true measure of an entrepreneur’s character.
Integrity first; idea second.