Rooster McConaughey (Yep, Matthew's Brother) Crows About His Reality Show, West Texas Investors Club

Ileane Rudolph
Jesse Grant/CNBC

Think of CNBC’s new show West Texas Investors Club as Shark Tank with cowboy boots, beer, a conscience and a taxidermied bear. Hosted by oil entrepreneurs Rooster McConaughey (Matthew’s big brother; he's in the plaid green shirt above), Butch Gilliam (left) and Gil Prather (center), the Midland Texas based investors must decide which eager capitalist making a pitch is the one to fun. We spoke to Rooster to learn about what it takes to make the cut on his new show and how he chose his kids' beer-centric names.

How did you get the nickname Rooster?
I had a spiked haircut, but besides that, we’d go out drinking till 4 am and I’d still wake up at daylight. So one day I woke up a friend, and he said, “You rooster motherf—er and from then on, it stuck.

What’s your real name?
Michael Patrick McConaughey. My mother likes it.

Is it true you named your two younger kids after alcoholic beverages?
I’m an older parent. When my wife got pregnant, people teased me, "You aren’t going to be able to carry around that Miller Lite with you anymore. It’s all over.” I said, “If things work out the way they might, I’ll take Miller Lite to church. [When my son] was born, I named him Miller and his middle name is Lyte. My daughter’s name is Margarita Olympia, but she was named after her great-grandmother. I knew no one would believe that. [Laughs] I suggested Olympia for a middle name. Little did anyone know that was the name of a beer.

Will your famous little brother Matthew pop up on the show?
I don’t know. We've got to see if he likes it!

What kind of techniques do you try to suss out whether the applicant is made of the right stuff for your investment?
It’s all about their character. Are they sincere? Do they look like they can handle a rough situation? Are they ready to do anything? If they’re too good to do something, like a pretty boy wanting to open a restaurant who’s not god dang willing to fix a plugged toilet.

How do you test that? I know you put one woman in a helicopter who was terrified of heights!
Well, we sometimes test their character, to see how they handle an uncomfortable situation and see whether they can laugh at themselves. Also, we’ll send them out with the product to see how they present it.

Like in the first show, when you send out that Miami “pretty boy” (as you described him to a bar in Odessa Texas), to try out his drink-ordering app?
I liked that one! It’s called Speed E Tab. We got to drink a lot of beer. So that was good for all of us. The only downfall—you can only order nine drinks.

What’s another favorite product?
A phone repair project that’s going to put a lot of people to work who deserve work: vets. It’s a heartfelt deal, and even if we don’t get a dime of our money back, we would do it.

You make it clear early on, that you don’t like ideas that put a lot of people out of work.
We don’t get too ticked about that, no. Sometimes you get into things that are so efficient that it puts some people out of work but hopefully can create job later on. We’re not going in thinking that just ‘cause we’ll make a lot of money, a bunch of other people will have to sacrifice. It needs to be a good deal for everybody and hopefully create jobs. It’s not like we want to pillage the world to fill our pockets.

West Texas Investor's Club

(from left) Butch Gilliam, Rooster McConaughey, Gil Prather

In one of your promos you say, "We trust the product, we don’t trust you." That’s a harsh thing to say to somebody.
That’s pretty awesome. I don’t get irritated that easy, so he must have done something [Laughs]. I try to keep it light, and I guess I got pissed.

If you and Butch invest the money, what does Gil do on the show?
He helps us read the people, and he spends more time with them than we do. They always unlock themselves to him. He’s the type where if he were a multimillionaire, he’d give it away in a week.

What is up with that stuffed bear in the interview room? Did you bag him?
[Laughs] He’s kind of intimidating. A friend of ours shot him. I can’t kill a bear, good gosh. I don’t shoot things anymore. Except my mouth.

How did you make your fortune?
Mainly in the oil business, the pipe business and investing in oil fields. I’ve also been in the cattle business a long time and that creates quite a few jobs. The deals we’re dong on the show are not really in our comfort zone.

Like apps?
Exactly!  I don’t know how to use one yet; all the ones on my phone are from the kids.

You’re a lifelong Texan. You want to secede from the U.S.?
We joke like we do. That’s kind of a standard joke around here. We’re nice in Texas just sprinkled with some arrogance. [Laughs]

If I visited Midland, what should I see?
First come see us, but if you want to know about the oil fields, the Petroleum Museum is phenomenal.

Did you have a good enough time that you’d do more episodes if the show does well in the ratings? Or did you run out of money?
We joke about the slump, about oil being half of what it was, which started about the time we did the show. We probably don’t have as much as we did have but we’re still doing okay. We want it to be successful; we sure hope it’s entertaining. I’m happy, but it’s kind of like whatever happens happens. I had a pretty dang good life before we started this show, so it’s a win-win for me either way.

West Texas Investors Club, Series premiere, Tuesday, August 4, 10/9c, CNBC

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