By Denise Koch

MONKTON, Md. (WJZ)— Two Baltimore County executives, six Naval West Point graduates, leaders in politics and business, tens of thousands of kids, and maybe even you attended Baltimore County’s Camp Puh’Tok.

Now, as Denise Koch reports, the Maryland Horse Council has chosen the camp’s patriarch Bob Eldredge as this year’s horseman of the year.

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WJZ went on a snowy tour of the 400 acres of Camp Puh’Tok. You have to imagine what it looks like in the summer—teepees on the hill, lodges filled with campers and Eldredge surrounded by some of the 500 kids who fill the camp each season.

“We have a unique program. We’re sort of old-fashioned and play a lot of cowboys, you know?” Eldredge said.  

Eldredge has been using the old western horses to help city kids thrive and grow since he returned from World War II and took over his father’s camp.

“Bob Eldredge could have built Disney World if he had the money,” said Lou Kousouris.

Kousouris, who is vice president of the Orioles in his day job, is one of Eldredge’s first campers.

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“From ’59 to ’64, I was here,” Kousouris said. “Every summer . . . because of the horses and because of Bob.”

Camp Puh’Tok was ahead of its time. Integrated in 1941, girls were welcomed in the early ’80s. And today, 25 percent of campers are on scholarship. Each horse, even the once wild mustangs, is cared for by two campers.

“We’re not a riding school. We don’t show or anything like that,” Eldredge said. “We just teach them how to get on a horse and have fun.”

More than a half century of fun with horses, a quarter century as managing editor of the award-winning Maryland Horse Magazine, and a lifetime of inspiring young people– for that, the Maryland Horse Council salutes Bob Eldredge.

“Well, I’m sort of a quiet, laid-back kind of fellah,” Eldredge said. “It’s nice. I’m honored.”

If you remember Bob Eldredge and you’d like to help honor him, the event is Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the warehouse in Camden Yards. For more information, click here or call 410-489-7826, ext. 102 and ask for Carolyn.

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Click here for more information about Camp Puh’Tok.