Among the nation's top shooters of his era Andrew Meaders went head-to-head with the most famous trapshooters of all-time and often defeated them. Born in Indiana in 1840, he lived most of his life in Nashville where he was in the ice, fish, oyster and game meat business. His apartment and his business office were opposite the site of today's Music City Center.
In 1885 Meaders and a handful of others, including Buffalo Bill Cody, met in New Orleans to form the National Gun Association, the first attempt at building up gun clubs and uniting shooters throughout the USA. The Interstate Association replaced it and was the predecessor of the ATA.
Prior to 1885, shooting competitions used live wild pigeons, trapped and sent to St Louis or Cincinnati and then distributed to shooting clubs throughout the Midwest and South. Meaders' skill and reputation developed in pigeon shoots. Eventually artificial targets replaced live pigeons. They shot glass balls for a few years until George Ligowsky patented trap and red clay "mud saucers" which became the norm.
In those years, Meaders would attend open tournaments over a wide geographical area and take on match challengers (one against one) for large purses, often held in Nashville. A winner-take-all purse of $250 in the late 1880's would be the equivalent of $6,600 today. He often shot against A. H. Bogardus, Doc Carver and John Brooks. Bogardus, Carver and Ligowsky were in the first class of inductees in the Trapshooting Hall of Fame in 1969.
The trophies at these shoots were expensive, but there might be only one or two given out. In a 1907 shoot at Cumberland Park in Nashville, site of the modern Fairgrounds, the awards were "a dainty dog head and whip stick pin" and, won by Meaders, solid silver military brushes.
In 1913, at the age of 73, he was still shooting at a high level and tied for the Preliminary Handicap at the Grand American with 96. A year later, he won the Grand Birmingham Handicap with 99. He might have been Tennessee's first competitive senior vet, though they didn't use that term back then.
He married Victorine Barton of Zanesville, Ohio. They had one son, William A. Meaders, who died in 1907 at the age of 26.
Andrew Meaders passed away in his Nashville apartment in February 1928. He was 87. His widow moved back to Ohio and died there in 1929.