After his Olympic success, Owens often struggled to make a living. For a time, he put on exhibitions where he traveled around the country racing local runners in the 100-yard dash, giving them a 20-yard head start. He also raced against horses, preferring thoroughbreds that tended to startle when the starting gun was fired. That gave him a little edge.
Owens took a little swing through Idaho in 1945, appearing in Idaho Falls, Payette, and Boise. In Payette, he beat Payette Lady, a thoroughbred owned by Ike Whiteley. No time for his run was recorded.
In Boise, the holder of seven world records, ran for a crowd of 3500 at Airway Park. His appearance in the Capitol City wasn’t against horses, but select members of the Globetrotters and Bearded Davidites, exhibition baseball teams. The Statesman reported that “Owens won as he pleased, crossing the line first in the century after giving his opponents a 10-yard lead; then running the low hurdles while two players ran on the flat and finally circling the bases against four opponents, each running only one base.”
The crowd applauded, glad to welcome Owens to Boise. But the welcome was not universal. No Boise hotel would rent a room to the Black man. He stayed instead with Warner and Clara Terrell in their house on 15th Street.